What’s Happening in Chablis?
A lot is happening in Chablis, France.
For one thing, new oak use is on the wane. In the 1990s many Chablis carried the taste of oak. People still ferment in oak, but typically older, more neutral oak, and use older oak to age the wines.
Parcels within the large premier cru Fourchaume—as just one example—can be called the name of the specific sub-region, such as L’Homme Mort, Vaupulent, Côte de Fontenay or Vaurolent, making it confusing for the consumer.
And Chablis can keep growing. In 2011, there were about 5,000 hectares of vineyard planted, leaving 700 more hectares that could be planted to Chablis and Petit Chablis.
But it is the younger generation of winemakers who are making the biggest statement. They likely have been trained as enologists and are educated in wine. They are picking a bit earlier, separating the vineyard lots, and they have a better understanding of the soils. They are making educated decisions, as opposed to what their families may have done.