Chablis... any thoughts?

I am trying to get into Chablis.

I mentioned to the wine director of a prominent restaurant (foolishly), that I felt “Chablis starting to become in again.” He drops his party host face, looks at me with the driest look of astonishment you’ve ever seen, and has to confirm he heard me right. “Chablis is becoming in…? It’s the best.” He then goes on to describe in detail all kinds of facts about the wine, and how it’s the wine he most loves to drink in his spare time. He happens to also think that Riesling at the highest level, is a better grape than Sauternes.

This was not a one-off experience for me, as I’ve discovered lately. Talk to any sommelier in a top restaurant around the country, and their eyes light up, as they go into full wine-nerd mode, trying to teach you all the things they know about Chablis.

I’m a bit familar, that some of the best labels are Vincent Dauvissat, Francois Raveneau, and Christophe et Fils. Including these names, I would love to know what’s worth trying out there.

Does anyone here have anymore comments and recommendations, on what you would want to drink again? I’m not really a frequent drinker, so I might be able to save up a bit more, for a better bottle of 1er cru or even grand cru, than the basic level and petit.

I’m just starting to learn more about it. I will definitely research anything you advise me to look at.


That’s funny. I thought you were going to say he scorned you. I’m not an expert but good questions. Paging @Nemroz, @attran99 and others.

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The only thing I know about Chablis is that it’s Chef Lufo Lebevre’s favorite wine. He’s posted a few on his IG account.


You might be right in spotting a trend of prominence but he’s right that wine fans never stopped with Chablis. I don’t know enough to recommend any buy trust my favorite wine shop recs

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I know nothing about Chablis but old world dry Rieslings have always been overlooked. Great value and so versatile. Goes great with grilled meats and many Asian foods which are hard to pair with.

Hi Times in OC has a good selection along various price points. Our favorite is a very reasonable $19 bottle. Gobelsburg from Austria.


Chablis’s reputation in the US has been clouded by products such as

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K&L has a lot of Chablis.,search.score()%20desc&searchText=

To get some ideas of ones to try, look at wine lists that have a good selection of them. Though restaurants may be able to buy wines that don’t make it to retail.

E.g. from Great China in Berkeley:

1101 Simonet-Febvre, Fourchame, 1er Cru, 2011 50
1102 Moreau-Naudet, Forets, 1er Cru, 2013 65
1103 Domaine Vocoret, Montée de Tonnerre, 1er Cru, 2016 75
1104 Patrick Piuze, Les Preuses, Grand Cru, 2010 250
1105 Patrick Piuze, Valmur, Grand Cru, 2010 260
1106 Dauvissat-Camus, Vaillons, 1er Cru, 2012 150
1107 Dauvissat-Camus, Vaillons, 1er Cru, 2017 150
1108 Dauvissat-Camus, La Forest, 1er Cru, 2012 160
1109 Dauvissat-Camus, La Forest, 1er Cru, 2017 160
1110 Dauvissat-Camus, Les Clos, Grand Cru, 2015 290
1111 Dauvissat-Camus, Les Clos, Grand Cru, 2017 325
1112 Dauvissat-Camus, Les Preuses, Grand Cru, 2017 350
1113 Vincent Dauvissat, La Forest, 1er Cru, 2012 170
1114 Vincent Dauvissat, La Forest, 1er Cru, 2014 170
1115 Vincent Dauvissat, Les Preuses, Grand Cru, 2014 375
1116 François Raveneau, Butteaux, 1er Cru, 2000 395
1117 François Raveneau, Monts Mains, 1er Cru, 2009 350

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I have very limited exposure myself but I can share some experiences.

I think it is still worth your while to try basic Chablis, which you can get many decent kinds for less than $25 a bottle and good for everyday consumption. If you live in California check your Costco wine section, the ones in Northern California I’ve seen: Jean Marc Brocard, a very respected producer for their base Chablis 2018 ($20 or less) that was touted as the Dungeness crab wine of choice, and a very very affordable Costco Chablis Premier Cru 2017 (fantastic value for home drinking) in the low $20s or less that blends Chardonnay from two Premier Cru vintages that’s quite versatile with food (particularly Asian). The Brocard has very noteable sharp acidity even with a Premier Cru and can hold up to Japanese fried shrimp shumai nicely.

I’ve had two Chablis Premier Cru bottles some years ago by William Fevre and
Domaine Vocoret et Fils Vaillon Premier Cru that I enjoyed quite a bit, and I think I enjoyed Fevre even more. I believe I had the Fevre with banquet style Cantonese for that meal and it was very pleasant (unfortunately I don’t remember which 1er cru vineyard it was), and my friend brought the Vocoret to Great China which handled a lot of the food nicely, even some of the dishes that had a little bit of a spicy kick. I vaguely recall going to a French wine tasting at K&L and tasted some random premier cru by producers I’ve never heard of, and found them way too tart and sharp for my liking.

Dauvissat and Raveneau are two of the very top producers and naturally command a higher premium if you can find them. If you are interested in investing for the sake of research I’m sure these are great. With Grand Cru, you probably need to age them at the very least 5 to 7 years, optimally 10 before you get maximum performance on them.


Thank you everyone for your help so far. I am very happy you’ve taken the time to go out of your way for a rather complex topic.

@TheCookie I was worried he was almost going to do that! Sure had me fooled for a second. Thank you for your paging your friends.

@attran99 He is a very interesting fellow. I had the chance to visit Bastide years ago. He has kindly allowed me to park in his parking stall at Trois Mec once. I like going to Petit Trois a lot for cocktails, but your tip off makes me feel like I’ll look more into their wine program when I return.

@Nemroz Well thanks, it’s nice to know I’m still ever so slightly keeping up with the times. The last time I went in to a wine shop (Silverlake), and asked a simple question on “what is natural wine?” the friendly owner of the store gave me a university lecture’s worth of knowledge in what it is.

@js76wisco I am starting to get back to being a decent human, and not a snob :sweat_smile: I too have fallen into the spell of thinking merlot and riesling are only for noobs. But my course meal at Eleven Madison Park included an incredible off menu riesling, that the sommelier was spot on in pairing with a certain course. I believe it matches the description you’ve given on a meat with Asian flavor profile. They also had a 20 year old Burgundy blend, from Yarra Yering. It amazed me how cheap wine can become better than expensive bottles, if aged that long.
I love the Hi-Times wine cellar. I’ve only had a chance to visit on a handful of occasions. Great place either as a destination, or stopping by when visiting the wonderful Laguna Beach. I will add your recommendation to my shopping list.

@robert This brings me back to my college days. Nothing like getting drunk off boxed wine, mixed with Bud Light, and shots of cheap whisky. That bottle would make a great water decanter when you’re done with the wine. I wonder if growler refills of wine will catch on, as it’s done for beer.
Going to read through your entire K&L list later today.

@beefnoguy I concur, basic Chablis has so far proven to be surprisingly good. I find the label designs are also much better on these. Costco will be my next stop… after these lines die down. Amazing that they carry premier cru. I’ll look into your bottle recommendations, and thank you for the suggestions on foods to go with.
I’m excited to look into these premier crus that have stayed in your memory. I don’t often think of Chinese food when it comes to this sort of wine, but it’s an eye opener. It sounds like this wine is very versatile.
I am eager to know more, and have considered a budget for at least one great bottle of both Dauvissat and Raveneau. Thank you very much for the advice on aging grand crus, I did not know that. Saved me a lot of headache in case I purchased an expensive one that’s brand new.


Common wisdom is that you shouldn’t drink premier cru Chablis until at least five years after the vintage.

I once went to a tasting of new releases of top Côte-Rôties. Professionals and collectors at the tasting were making judgments about what the wines would be like when mature based on past experience, but to me they were closed, brutally tannic, and undrinkable.

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I think yes and no to that. But in general I would agree to more aging (5 year minimum for drinking window), similar to White Burgundy Puligny Montrachet 1er and Chassagne Montrachet 1er. From the K&L tasting there were premier cru’s that were at least 2 to 3 years old (they generally sell around that time frame as new releases) but still far too strong for me. For the very well regarded producers like Raveneau and Dauvissat more aging will definitely benefit as they were built for it. But the true taste is actually to have it with the right food, start with it chilled and experience it evolving throughout the meal.

Not all producers are the same given if the same premier cru vineyard. For example the Costco 1er cru can be consumed young (plus it’s so affordable anyway). The first William Fevre Chablis 1er I had was less than 5 years old (maybe 2 to 3 at the time I drank it), I want to say it was Vaillons, but still found it very enjoyable.

@Dropkicku you can also consider Albert Bichot, another good producer of village level Chablis and their parent label for the higher end Domaine Long-Depaquit. AB was mentioned in the Netflix film “Uncorked” for a little bit, and I had a DLD labeled Chablis that was very interesting. I think I like AB more than Brocard.

They also say that Chablis is the definitive oyster wine (unfortunately I have yet to experience this pairing), owing to the Kimmeridgian soil (marle) that comprises limestone, clay and fossilized oyster shells.

Aged Riesling can be so wonderfully complex. Great learning to also try Alsace region Riesling, and also some of the top producers of Alsace Riesling (e.g. Domain Weinbach, higher end Trimbach, Hugel) as well as German Rieslings (Joh Jos Prum, Donhoff)… my first JJP was aged 10 years, touch sweet (but very complex) and it was quite magnificent.

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I have been doing my own personal research and deep dive into Chablis lately.

  1. Costco Kirkland Chablis Premier Cru 2017 - a steal at $20 or so per bottle. It’s still relatively young, and fairly high acidity. Solid food wine / table wine and can be consumed with a variety of eats. You could even cellar this for longer and it will improve for sure.

  2. Samuel Billaud Chablis village 2017 - tried my first village level Chablis, and this was very interesting. Relatively smaller producer. Samuel left Domaine Billaud Simon (a very well regarded producer) and started his own winery. Billaud Simon in the past 5+ year or so went through some major family squabbles, and ended up being bought out by Domaine Faiveley (a Burgundy producer) but kept the DBS label and kept making good quality Chablis. It wasn’t as good re corked, back in the refrigerator and tasted 2 to 3 days later

  3. Domain Billaud 2016 Simon Montee de Tonerre Premier Cru - my first bottle of non Kirkland Chablis 1er cru this year. I guess I got lucky with this bottle, it was just right. Paired very nicely with sushi. Has combination of all the great characteristics and profiles. If Montee de Tonnerre is supposed to taste like this, I’m very pleased. It’s one of the top climats for Premier Cru Chablis

  4. Jean Marc Brocard 2018 Chablis Sainte Claire - This was $20 at Costco but I missed the chance of getting more as nobody seemed to care about it and I guess they got rid of the stock. JMB is a big name (and mass) producer (and well regarded too). I actually liked this one way more than Samuel Billaud. I would want to explore the rest of JMB’s portfolio. I would also want to have this village Chablis again with dim sum.

  5. Patrick Piuze Terroir de Fye Chablis 2016 - Patrick is a guy from Montreal who worked at a wine bar, then did time at Olivier Leflaive (Burgundy), then Jean Marc Brocard, before settling down in Chablis and ended up producing his own wine. Negociant, so he works with grape growers to buy chardonnay grapes per his specifications (including when to harvest). He has a very particular philosophy and approach, and his bio and other writeups make him and his wines sound very intriguing. However I think the bottle I got was not handled or stored properly, so I didn’t quite like it as much. This producer’s 2018 offerings are fairly expensive compared to the competition. I may try something else down the road but not in a hurry

  6. Domaine William Fevre 2018 Chablis - WF is another big producer, and their Premier and Grand Cru are excellent. The village version however is not so great. Strangely the half bottle 2018 Chablis I got had very strong ocean flavors and oyster shells, with faint fruit, small hints of lemon, and intense astringency…

  7. Domaine William Fevre 2015 Montmains Premier Cru - very difficult to find older/aged Chablis 1er Cru, very lucky to have come across a bottle that was kept/stored properly. After 30 mins+ out of the fridge and in the class, it blossomed so nicely. Super good. More complexity, and of course minerality, salinity, oyster shells etc…but balanced with citrus/lemon, lemon pith, almost like some yuzu characteristics. Sweet spot right now but may also be interesting in another 2 years.

  8. Domaine Pinson Les Clos Grand Cru 2016 - It’s relatively young but already drinking great. Very impactful and paired brilliantly with saba bousushi

For what it’s worth, one of the K&L Hollywood buyers recently reviewed a bottle of Domaine Pinson 2018 Premier Cru… I think it was Mont de Millieu to Connie & Ted’s and she had a blast pairing lobster / lobster roll and oysters with it. At $39.99, this seems like a fantastic buy. Might be a bit young to drink now, but some like that fresh vibrance and sharp acidity. I should try this too. Or buy a few bottles, and drink them over the course of the years and save the last one at the 4 or 5 year mark.


I’m sure you’ll get more in depth comments but I wanted to say thanks for the great write up! I’ve been drinking more on the other end of France some Jurançon and bordeaux blanc when I can get some with Semillon. I do love Chablis and look forward to exploring it more.

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Thanks! I do not have the taste quite yet for OG Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends (aka Bordeaux Blanc / Graves) and certain profiles are too strong for me…maybe in time I will learn to appreciate them better once I experience the right pairings for them. Always eager to learn when the opportunity comes though.

My wise wine mentor said it best, there is simply no substitution for hands (tongue) on tasting and especially with your own money. You are more motivated to have your own opinion on your preferences, even if you do not agree with wine scores/ratings (some of the more famous ones. You might even cringe and laugh when you truly know or think what’s behind their motivations and scores they give certain wines, and why.

I think most oenophiles really get and enjoy Chablis, even if it’s not as loved with many…but I also get the impression that some unicorn wine chasers only want to taste the ones from super famous producers, and kind of ignore the rest (unless they are also wine geeks, but you can usually tell the geeks from the chaser types).

I thought Alsace Riesling was my thing, and then when I finally deep dived a bit into Chablis, I find Chablis far more interesting and nuanced. Seems easier to latch on to that the ultra expensive Cote de Beaune region of white burgundy.

Either way, learning about all of this is quite rewarding and fun. It’s a great side trip from sake.

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Grand cru Chablis is a classy wine worth exploring and a relatively good value. I think it’s best around 7 to 15 years old.

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