It can be hard to believe Chablis is made from Chardonnay. Wines made from Chablis, France—usually not labeled as “Chardonnay”—have the high acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc, texture of a mid-weight Viognier and fruit of a Muscadet. Chablis is one of the world’s greatest dry white wines for its ethereal mix of bone-dry freshness, minerality and a chamois-like texture. My favorite wine with oysters, Chablis also works marvelously with white-fleshed fish, chicken and cream sauces. The recommendations below are termed “village wines”—they don’t come from a ranked vineyard, but maintain the inimitable perfume and flavor of Chablis costing much more.
Val de Mer (A.O.C.)
Aromas of lemon and steel shavings with impressive body and length. The palate also shows a slight sweet herb quality, making it fantastic with salads.
Domaine Servin Chablis “Les Pargues”
A sine qua non of Chablis. Flavors of citrus, wet stones and rhubarb abound in semiquavers of tactile intensity. Enjoy with a baked flounder or other flatfish.
Alice et Olivier de Moor, “Bel Air et Clardys”
Rich and marrowy with a finish suggesting pear and peach. Wonderful with chicken braised in white wine.
Available at Madison’s finer wine stores. If unavailable, most purveyors will special order from their wholesalers if requested.
Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.
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