This is Chardonnay country!
Gentle rolling vineyards on clay soil. The best vineyards are on sloping ground facing the south for maximum sunshine. Frost protection and getting grapes ripe has always been a challenge in Chablis but it is this very struggle that sets the wine apart from those produced in more benign regions.
The classification of Chablis wines is a complicated process with vineyards being divided in Climats and then ranked with the best gaining Grand Cru and Premier Cru status.
The INAO differentiates between four Appellations Controlée areas of Chablis:
- Le "Petit Chablis" generally harvested on the plateau lands, with a production ceiling of 60 hl/ha.
- Le "Chablis" ”, from the slopes exposed to the North and East, and on the plateaux ; here production is set at 60 hl/ha.
- Les "Chablis Premier Cru" from the slopes exposed to the South and West. These are separated into 79 “climats”, or individual vineyards, of which 25 should be remembered. Production is limited to 58 hl/ha.
- Les "Chablis Grand Cru" which are harvested solely at Chablis and Fyé, on the slopes of the right bank of the Serein, in front of the town: seven “climats”, or individual vineyards, belong to this appellation: In quality they constitute the summit of the pyramid ; production is limited to 45 hl/ha.
The delimited areas of the four AOC are :
Chablis Grand-Cru 103ha
Chablis Premiers-Cru 745ha
4308 ha are planted ; there are therefore still about 1000 ha in "Petit-Chablis" and 1500 ha in "Chablis" available for planting.