WINES OF CHABLIS
2018 Wine Tour
We’ve been very excited to launch our 2018 Know France Wine Tour. Know The World Tours has organized and led countless groups around Europe but this will be our inaugural wine tour. The itinerary has been put together by two of our most esteemed Tour Directors, Bob and Michelle Bright. The two have put in countless hours to create a tour that highlights lesser known regions throughout France and this happens to include Chablis. So, why is Chablis an important region to visit on a wine tour?
History of wine in Chablis
The Chablis region of France has a long and fascinating history of winemaking. From the annexation by the Duke of Burgundy in the 15th century, the region experienced incremental growth and increasing renown. With easy access to Paris via the Seine River, Chablis developed a near monopoly to supply wines to the capital. In conjunction with developing a strong domestic market, England was a massive export market for Chablis wines. By the 19th century, the region had experienced tremendous growth and a total acreage of 98,840 towards grape production. The advent of mass train transportation across France, coupled with successive blights, led to a dramatic decrease in grape production. By the 20th century, total acreage had dropped to 1,235 acres.
While the region had experienced a significant decline, there were strides being taken to restore the region to its former glory. The creation of the Appelation D’origine Contrôlée in 1938 was imperative; the body worked hard to protect the name from being slapped onto an assortment of cheap wines, many of which came from the United States. With increased recognition and the ability to differentiate Chablis from lesser wines, the region was working hard to reverse its prior decline. Technological advances from the 1960’s onwards allowed for decreased risks for vineyard owners as crops sustained less frost damage through the spring.
Characteristics of Chablis wines
Extrapolating on the history of the region begs the question: what kind of wines are produced in Chablis? What has driven countless passionate vineyard owners and consumers to support wines from the region throughout the past six centuries?
To begin, wine from Chablis is made exclusively with the use of Chardonnay grapes. Despite the use of Chardonnay grapes, the region produces a wine that is very different from a typical Chardonnay. As a result of less sunshine and subsequently, less sugar, Chablis wines often present with high levels of acidity and minerality. The majority of wines produced from Chablis are grown within Kimmeridgian or Portlandien soils, both of which have a high degree of fossils and rock from an expansive lake which formerly covered much of the area.
Chablis wine is pale yellow in colour with a greenish tint and often pares best with a broad range of seafood. The categorisation system has four separate designations, including Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru. The designation system is often decided by soil and slope, with the higher designations only arriving from specific micro-regions in Chablis. Historically, the wine was aged in wooden Feuillette barrels, which unlike oak barrels, were considered neutral and don’t import any of the flavours associated with other barrel aging. The majority of Chablis wines are now aged in stainless steel containers, with the exception being a limited use of oak for Chablis wines within the Premier and Grand Cru designations
For our 2018 Know France Wine Tour, we will be visiting Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard. This esteemed winery began with humble roots, as Jean-Marc married into a family with a small vineyard and he has been expanding his operations for several decades. Our tour includes five other vineyards and a broad range of wines from across France. Click on the button below for our registration form for our 2018 Know France Wine Tour.
Mike Lawler | 6/7/2018