Get it while you can: where to find the finest chablis

get it while you can where to find the finest chablis

You may well have seen the recent images of fires burning in French vineyards in a desperate attempt to ward off the unseasonal frost. That’s not an uncommon sight in Chablis, one of the country’s most northerly grape-growing regions, but temperatures there have dipped so low this year that some producers have seen the entire year’s harvest wiped out. “While we are used to spring frosts, we’ve never dealt with such conditions, with snowy nights in the middle of April,” says Julie Fèvre of Domaine Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre, which faces losses of between 50% and 100% of its crop.

Apart from the obvious impact on the vignerons’ livelihood, why should this matter to wine drinkers? There’s plenty of chardonnay out there, often at cheaper prices, but none of it – not even English chardonnay – offers quite the lean, mineral style of chablis, France’s unique expression of the grape. Or at least that used to be the case: ironically, given this year’s savage frost, climate change and higher summer temperatures have been more influential in making it harder to make chablis in the classic style.

Of the different classifications, I find the most typical and expressive premier crus are those in which you really can taste the difference between the wines…

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