A New Wave of Chablis Winemakers

Chablis wines of France are cherished and admired the world over, and Canada is a top importer of them. Chablis vines grow in Bourgogne, in the northeast corner of France. This region has a distinctive terroir characterized by rare Kimmeridgian soils, which have a limestone formation containing fossilized shells that originated over 150 million years ago when the region was under the waters of a shallow sea. This soil type gives Chablis wines their unique minerality that echoes their geological history.

The new generation of Bourgogne winemakers celebrates the viticultural heritage of the area. They are also more educated and take an environmentally conscious approach to winemaking. Currently, nearly 25 percent of farm managers are under the age of forty, and women hold a significant number of these positions. The Chablis vineyards now prioritize inclusion, diversity and environmentally supportive practices such as organic farming. This new approach is evident in Yonne, where between 2019 and 2021, the area of vineyards converted to organic farming tripled.

Visionary Vintners

Estelle Roy leads the cooperative La Chablisienne, located in the heart of the Chablis region, with some of the oldest vineyards in France. She holds her Diplôme National d’Oenologue and worked in various prestigious winemaking regions across France before joining La Chablisienne. She now specializes in the Chardonnay grape variety, drawing from her rich viticultural experience. La Chablisienne meticulously produces Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru.

Céline Chevallier is also one of the new wave of Chablis winemakers. She leads Domaine Chevallier, where she manages 16 hectares with Petit Chablis, Chablis, and Chablis Premier Cru appellations. She inherited Domaine Chevalier from her father and carries on the tradition not only out of obligation but also because of her passion for working with the Chardonnay grape from start to finished product. Since 2020, these vineyards have all been certified with High Environmental Value (HVE 3).

I recently tasted two beautiful Chablis and was immediately struck by their extraordinary delicacy and finesse. Either of these would make an excellent gift wine, which is good to remember with Mother’s Day coming up!

La Chablisienne Chablis Le Finage 2021
Chablis, France

Le Finage is an extremely elegant Chablis, with aromas of honey, apples, citrus zest, lilies and the characteristic saline minerality. The palate repeats these notes, along with apple, peach and rich buttery flavours, with a very satiny texture and superb acidity. Enjoy this with salmon, shellfish, oysters or sushi. You could cellar this wine until 2030, but admittedly, at my house, I can’t wait that long.

Dry • 12.5% • VINTAGES# 556340 • $32.95

Domaine Chevallier Chablis 2021
Chablis, France

An extra dry, elegant wine with aromas and rich flavours of white flowers, pineapple, lime zest, and the distinctive saline minerality that reflects its terroir. It was vinified in thermoregulated stainless steel vats to optimize the delicate fruit and saline characteristics and to avoid oaky flavours. Taught acidity makes this an excellent pairing for garlic shrimp, other shellfish, fish in rich sauces, or a Tomato and Goat Cheese tart.

Extra dry • 12.5% • LCBO Vintages# 112227 • $32.95

Test your wine knowledge! The answers are all found in the article.

Which grape varietal is used to make Chablis wines?
a.  Aligoté
b.  Sauvignon
c.  Chablis
d.  Chardonnay

Where is Chablis?
a.  In Champagne
b. In Bourgogne
c. In the South-West of France
d. In the Loire Valley

What kind of wine is Chablis?
a.  Dry white wine
b. Sweet white wine
c. Rosé wine
d. Sparkling wine

If you’re curious to learn more about Chablis wines, click here to watch an excellent video.

For more wine and food discovery from Jane Staples, visit www.bellovinoj.com


Photos courtesy Vins de Bourgogne.
Photo of Céline Chevalier by Sébastien Boulard.