Chablis, from northern Burgundy in France, is the exemplar of the unoaked Chardonnay style: chalky, flinty, crisp and focused. Admittedly, not all producers in Chablis are strict stainless steel devotees—some allow their top wines to spend time in old oak barrels or vats (which impart little or no oak flavor), and some use new oak (a practice many of their peers frown upon). But the overall thrust of great Chablis is toward purity and finesse. The extraordinary Domaine François Raveneau Les Clos Grand Cru, from the region’s most renowned producer (and most renowned vineyard), is the apogee of Chablis. But since that wine runs $200 a bottle, four substantially more affordable introductions to good Chablis are listed below.
Great Value Chablis
2006 Jean-Pierre Grossot Chablis ($25)
Citrus and flower aromas distinguish this chalky wine from an up-and-coming producer; peach flavors come out in the finish.
- Crisp New Chardonnays
- Go-To Chardonnay Zones
- Wine 101: Chardonnay & White Burgundy
- Understanding Oak: A Travelogue
2007 Christian Moreau Chablis ($28)
Moreau, who comes from a longtime Chablis-producing family, is known for steely, focused wines. This intro-level bottling is green-gold in color and has the flavor of tart green apples, along with a hint of earthiness.