The best Chablis wine has a fairytale quality to it. Crafted by master vintners in a remote subregion of Burgundy in northern France, the subtle flavors and aromas of these light-bodied white wines gently guide you on a journey through the idyllic green hills and breezy vineyards of this picturesque area. They may not be as famous as their Champagne neighbors to the north, but there is nothing quite like the fresh, airy purity of a quality Chablis wine.
Of course, as with any wine you plan to collect—whether for pleasure or for profit—you’ll want to seek out only those wines that will deliver on their promise of excellence. However, not every Chablis is created equal, even those that share the same label. The Chardonnay grapes from which Chablis wines are exclusively produced are vulnerable to both extreme cold and a variety of diseases. Moreover, the Chablis region itself is known for being capricious in climate, with frosty springs and autumns frequently cutting the growing season unexpectedly short.
However, the best Chablis producers will create wines that are most consistent in quality and will typically deliver the most gratifying results. As such, for those not yet intimately familiar with great Chablis, it is best to begin by seeking out a few bottles from these top producers first.
The 10 Best Chablis Producers in the Industry
Even the history of Chablis wines is a bit of a Cinderella story. Though reasonably popular (especially in Paris) in the early 1800s, the phylloxera plague devastated crops and left producers reeling for decades. Not until the 2000s did Chablis wines begin to reclaim the respect and acclaim of which they had been so long deprived.
Today, these wines are recognized as a wholly unique take on Chardonnay, boasting both a strong sense of place and a unique cornucopia of bright, acidic citrus and mineral flavors, including a hint of gunflint that is associated only with the very highest quality Chablis wines.
Below is a list of what are considered to be some of the best Chablis producers on the market.
|Domaine Billaud-Simon||This producer’s wines are reminiscent of a morning stroll through an orchard. Bright floral and citrusy scents with just a touch of minerality waft from the glass, a fine introduction to flavors of white flowers, lemon, apple, and crushed stone with a dash of white pepper. Gentler than some of the others listed here, these wines are nevertheless known for possessing both elegance and lively energy.|
|Domaine Vincent Dauvissat||These dense, bright wines combine oyster shell, white peach, and spring florals on the nose with lemon, brown spice, and minerally flavors like flint. They tend to be lengthy and balanced on the finish.|
|Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix||With savory-sweet notes of butterscotch, honey, herbs, and the occasional yeasty hints of fresh-baked bread on the nose, these sensual wines combine flavors of red fruit jam, sour apples, licorice, and minerality with a long, buttery finish.|
|Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin||The aromatic experience of these wines evokes the seaside for some, often combining subtle wood scents with the saltiness of a sea breeze or tidal pool, complete with damp stone and even a few floral notes. On the palate, these Chablis wines are steely, minerally, and crisply precise, with juicy notes of apricot, peach, and grapefruit.|
|Domaine William Fèvre||This domaine’s Chablis wines are elegantly racy and intensely pure, with aromas of green fruit, citrus, and powdered stone. These refreshingly juicy wines tend to taste of crushed rocks and herbs along with apple, melon, and lime.|
|Domaine Louis Michel et Fils||Bright citrus, salty oyster shells, and a stony minerality combine with aromas of apple, grapefruit, dried flowers, and gunflint in these structured, distinguished wines.|
|Domaine Christian Moreau||Sleek, charming, refined, with a citrusy acidity, these wines offer a bouquet of dark spring flowers and green apples interspersed with peaches and ginger. Light honey, candied fruit, and chamomile, meanwhile, linger on the tongue for a lasting, balanced finish.|
|Pattes Loup||Though pale in color, a Pattes Loup Chablis is likely to deliver a polychromatic selection of aromas and flavors, with green apples, yellow flowers, orange rind, and a curl of smoke on the nose, and almonds, dried pears and peaches, red currants, and a touch of stony minerality on the palate.|
|Domaine Raveneau||Medium to full-bodied, with a purity and seductive richness few other Chablis wines can match, Raveneau wines deliver refreshing aromatic notes of white fruit and flowers, honey, and citrus alongside almond, honeysuckle, and lemon flavors with just a hint of flint and spice.|
|Maison Verget||Opulently silky, these rich yet refreshing wines tantalize with scents of sweet apples, ripe lemon, oak, and stone. Expect floral flavors of rose and acacia blossoming between tart red fruit, citrus, and flint.|
While those listed above are some of the best Chablis producers in the business, they are far from the only good ones—there are many other producers worthy of inclusion in any respectable collection of Chablis. Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret, Alice et Olivier de Moor, Domaine Servin, Vocoret & Fils, Domaine Pinson Frères, Jean-Marc Brocard, and Domaine Nathalie & Gilles Fevres all come to mind. However, the list above provides a solid starting point for anyone just beginning to add bottles of this fine French wine to their collection.
Tips for Finding High-Quality Chablis Wines
As your collection of Chablis wines grows, it will behoove you to know how to seek out top-quality wines from any producer, whether they’re included in the list above or not. The following are a few tips for choosing wines worth collecting:
- Learn how to read a French wine label. While checking the label sounds obvious, French wine labels are notoriously complex. If you’re not proficient at reading them yet, familiarizing yourself with the basics will help you better understand your choices—and what to expect from each bottle.
- Pay attention to the appellation. Typically, the more specific the regional designation on the label, the higher the quality will be. Within Chablis itself, there are four different appellations; those boasting Premier Cru or Grand Cru designations are among the very best of the best.
- Check the vintage year. When in doubt, opt for years in which the summer was warm and the spring and fall weather mild; these conditions ensure longer growth periods and, generally, higher quality results. (Wines from colder, wetter years are often too acidic.)
Researching professional tasting notes will also be helpful if you intend to open your wine, while some market value research is useful if your priority is choosing wines with high investment value.
The Best Chablis Wines Complement Any Collection
Collecting a top-tier wine from an excellent Chablis producer is a rewarding endeavor, regardless of whether you plan to drink or resell it. Be prepared, however, for seemingly wild differences in price. Due to the changeable weather of the region, some years produce plentifully, while others yield only a small amount of usable grapes. As such, Chablis wine prices can spike or fall from year to year; again, checking the vintage year will tell you whether a high price tag is warranted or not.
As for aging potential, these fairytale wines are fittingly ephemeral; many drink well young, and most age best around five to perhaps ten years at most. Only top-shelf products from the very best Chablis producers will continue to improve for up to 15 years and onward (wines from Domaine Raveneau are particularly long-lived). Of course, nothing lasts forever—though a single sip of one of these bright, charming wines may make you wish it would.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.