The other day, while pondering the daunting prospect of being cooped up in my house for days on end with five screaming kids due to the Coronavirus outbreak in London, I was also thinking about escaping for some crazy reason. Recently, I had watched a Rick Stein episode of him cruising through France, exploring and indulging in culinary delights of the country’s various regions. Most of his meals were accompanied by a glass of French wine. This brought back memories of my first time in the Chablis wine region of France about 12 years ago. At the time, I was 4 months pregnant, responsible for chaperoning thirty children on a school trip, and as a result, couldn’t properly sample the amazing wines of this region. Fast forward 12 years…I’m no longer pregnant and no longer a primary teacher, but rather, I am an explorer of exceptional wines.
Of all the wines I regularly choose, I prefer a glass of Chablis characterized by its understated pale lemon and subtle green hues exuding crisp, mouthwatering acidity, citrus and green orchard fruit flavours accompanied by subtle minerality and smoothe salinity on the finish. It’s a dry white wine and enjoying a glass offers a poetic journey of simplistic complexity…and that is exactly what I love. This intriguing white wine is made from chardonnay grapes grown in the Chablis region of France, which is located in the northern part of Burgundy. In France the wine is named after the ‘appellation’ AOC where the grapes come from. This region is a bit cooler, thus enabling the chardonnay grapes to develop more acidity than if they were grown in a warmer region. As a result, the acidity on the palate creates a mouth watering sensation. This acidity shouldn’t be harsh or too tart but rather, it should create a refreshing feeling in your mouth that actually makes you want to drink more!
The unique salinity and minerality that is characteristic of Chablis wines is attributed to the unique soil type where the vines grow. This region was once submerged under oceanic waters. As a result, the current topsoil hides a treasure trove of fossilized underwater marine life that once thrived in the ocean waters. This unique soil, primarily composed of limestone and chalky marl, is called Kimmeridgean clay and is found in the regions of Chablis, Eastern Loire Valley and southern Champagne.
This week I’m encouraging you to buy a Chablis. There are so many out there and the price point varies greatly. However, if you stick to the £12-£20 range, you will probably be getting a pretty decent bottle. As most of us are restricted to life at home, then definitely try to ordering online. Here are some Chablis options if you’re living in the UK and stuck at home!!
If you’re looking to pair a Chablis with food, then I highly recommend going with a white flat fish dish such as a lemon sole recipe or a seafood dish, specifically, mussels, clams, prawns and/or scallops tossed in a light white wine sauce, served with fresh pasta and seasoned with garlic and fresh herbs. You definitely can’t go wrong with that! If you have access to fresh oysters, then these would also be a fantastic indulgence to compliment your glass of Chablis.
As with any wine, there are higher price points for bottles of Chablis. I recommend trying the ones on offer at your local supermarket first. Decide if this is a wine you really like. If so, then go to your local wine shop and ask for a recommendation. It’s always good to start there. If I was to try a higher price point Chablis, I would go for Drouhin wines, simply because they have a longstanding history in the Burgundy region of creating amazing wines and they have adopted biodynamic viticultural practices.
I hope you find an amazing bottle. I’m always on the lookout for recommendations.