Grapes and Wines in Chablis
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 Contrôlée areas of Chablis:
- Le "Petit Chablis" generally harvested on the plateau lands, with a production ceiling of 60 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha).
- Le "Chablis" from the slopes mostly exposed to the north and east, and on the plateaux - here production is also set at 60 hl/ha.
- Les "Chablis Premiers Crus" from the slopes mostly exposed to the south and west. These are separated into 79 “climats”, or individual vineyards, of which 25 or so are generally considered to be superior. Production is limited to 58 hl/ha.
- Les "Chablis Grands Crus" which are harvested solely at Chablis and Fyé, on the slopes of the right bank of the Serein, directly north and east of the town: seven “climats”, or individual vineyards, belong to this appellation, Blanchots, Les Clos, Valmur, Grenouilles, Vaudésir, Les Preuses and Bougros. 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 Premier Cru 745ha
Petit Chablis 1562ha
4308 hectares are planted ; there are therefore still about 1000 hectares in "Petit Chablis" and 1500 in "Chablis" available for planting.