Chablis is one of the best-known and most distinctive wines. It is recognised around the world by consumers who crave the steely and mineral-charged expression of Chardonnay which characterises its individual, cool climate origin in northern Burgundy.
Chablis is renowned for its powerful acidity and ability to age – keep premier cru and grand cru wines for several years and great complexity will evolve in those from top producers and specific vineyards.
Chablis is rarely heavily wooded, and is frequently unoaked – a style that emphasises terroir character. The absence of powerful oak flavours seems increasingly fashionable today, perhaps explaining why global Chablis sales are estimated at 251 million euros annually by the Burgundy wine council (BIVB).
It may also explain the fascination that many winemakers the world over have for this appellation.
The marginal viticultural position of Chablis was confirmed by dramatic events in spring 2016.
In April of that year, nature served a powerful reminder to producers that they were operating in an extreme climate.
The worst frost for almost 50 years decimated huge swathes of Chardonnay vines, and within a month two terrible hailstorms obliterated all hope of a recovery later in the vintage.
Stocks were reduced and pressure on Chablis prices threatened to damage demand, yet consumers have continued to drink even more.
Given the knife-edge climate, and the increased likelihood of severe weather, it seems opportune to consider alternative wines that might appeal to Chablis lovers.
Translated by Sylvia Wu / 吴嘉溦
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