Chablis is a village and a wine, and only vines grown in the designated area of Chablis are allowed to put that name on the bottle. Only one vine is permitted too, Chardonnay, the queen of grapes. However the Chardonnay wines of Chablis are not like those fat juicy wines of Australia, or the creamy buttery wines of Meursault. Oh no, these are wines made by winemakers who fiddle with the process at their peril, so no oak and no malolactic fermentation, just the tender care of vines standing in the oyster shell rich Kimmeridgean soil laid down in the Jurassic period. Wines here are flinty, steely, and have a purity that blossoms into complexity as one rises through the scale of wines labelled as Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru Chablis, and Grand Cru Chablis. This scale has nothing to do with what the winemaker does, it is determined solely by the terroir and therefore the soil, and the winemaker is its guardian.
One of the best and our favourite winemaker in Chablis is Richard Rottiers whose mother ran Domaine Les Malandes before him. She is an artist, a painter …… but so is he, and a tasting with him is a work of art too!