Chablis or Not To Chablis... That is the Question
Chablis or Not Chablis, That is the Question
Being a native Californian and working in the Napa Valley wine region, there is no way to get away from Chardonnay, and honestly why would you? The top planted varietals world wide are red, but this unsung hero deserves a better look. When someone tells me they don’t like Chardonnay, I say me neither. Truth is, there are tons of styles and it takes that special one to show you that you may just like it after all.
By now you’re asking yourself, What does this have to do with Chablis? Well, that’s the funny thing cause they are almost the same thing, it just comes down to the oak and the region. The Chablis region is located in Burgundy. The grapevines around Chablis are almost all Chardonnay, making a dry white wine with a crisp and fruity character including green apple, lemon and sometimes pineapple with a long tingly finish.
Imagine Chardonnay and Chabis as a coffee drink. Chardonnay is your lattes, cappuccinos, creamy, buttery and smooth. Chablis is just good old fashioned black drip coffee. We all have different tastes, and the two offer the best of both worlds, and many winemakers vary their wine somewhere in between the two styles. It’s just a matter of trying some to see which you like more.
There’s a couple of other things that make chablis or unoaked chardonnay mentally more delicious. They tend to be more sustainable and even technically more affordable than the oaked version. They are cheaper to produce generally because the prices of new oak barrels. The wines from Chablis traditionally are made with stainless steel, concrete or neutral oak.
Napa is known for a creamy style chardonnay and that buttery-vanilla flavor of oak. They also make a variety of chardonnays that has varying degrees of oak worth investigating. Just like the coffee analogy, you just need to find the right balance. Often at a wine tasting we host couples that realize they both like white wine after all, but they often choose different styles.
We look forward to your next tour and hope a whole new world of white wines will open up to your and companions. Either way It’s not a Shakespearean tragedy if you find that Chardonnay and Chablis are in Hamlet’s words, “Not To Be,” but maybe you’ll discover the style of white wine that is “To Be!”