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For two good reasons, I probably own more Chablis than any other white, and I probably drink it more often than any other wine. One, it's a relatively good value for Burgundy, and two, I love it.

But I don't like every bottle of Chablis I open. Sometimes a Chablis can seem too tense, thin and nervous, like an over-caffeinated Woody Allen in a bottle. Others could use some of that tension, but instead slouch like slackers, as though they were no more than mediocre Chardonnays. Still, I seem so imprinted with the distinctive chalky, seashell flavors of good Chablis that the occasional unsatisfactory bottle doesn't deter me.


Chablis, which I consider the world's most distinctive Chardonnay and a prime exhibit of the idea that good wine speaks deeply of its place of origin.

While it's possible to make Bordeaux-like red blends in California or Sauvignon Blancs reminiscent of Sancerre in New Zealand, nowhere else produces a Chardonnay remotely like Chablis. Sure, Chardonnays the world over may share certain characteristics. The best, in my opinion, emphasize tension, texture and minerality rather than the extravagant fruit and buttered popcorn flavors so often attributed to oaky versions popular in the 1990s. Yet Chablis alone offers a specific sort of mineral quality, often likened to seashells, or at least the chalky, stony salinity we associate with them.


What accounts for this? The best Chablis vineyards grow on what was a prehistoric sea. Even today one can run a hand through the limestone and clay soils and pick out fossilized shells and marine skeletons. Skeptics may scoff at the perhaps too obvious association of finding seashells in the soil and seashell aromas in the wine, while scientists have yet to agree on the precise effect of soils on the aromas and flavors of any wine. Yet, the wine expresses itself clearly with little regard for either skepticism or science.

This is the sort of mystery that remains at the heart of good wine. Why does it taste like this? Even if we can't answer with certainty the questions posed by Chablis, we can't deny the evidence of our senses.

... a few more boring geeky facts

The influence of geology in the case of Chablis is so powerful that it may even overcome the characteristics of the Chardonnay grape. Consider that Chablis, though it is classified as part of Burgundy, is in fact nearer to Sancerre than it is to the Côte de Beaune, where most other great white Burgundies come from. Parts of Sancerre and Chablis have more in common geologically than Chablis does with the Côte de Beaune, and, even though Sancerre is made with Sauvignon Blanc rather than Chardonnay, good Sancerres can sometimes be mistaken for Chablis and vice versa.

Chablis is one of the most famous names in white wine, so famous that after Prohibition, big American wine producers appropriated the name for their white wines, a practice that continues today with the cheapest jug wines.


The issue of inconsistency dogs Chablis. Mostly, this occurs on the lower end. As with all of Burgundy, Chablis vineyards are rated hierarchically. At the bottom is Petit Chablis. Then comes straight Chablis, Premier Cru and, at the top, Grand Cru. The historic core of Chablis encompasses the Grand Cru and Premier Cru areas. But a good deal of what is now called Chablis and Petit Chablis is a result of an expansion of appellation boundaries since the 1950s.

No matter how many producers in California or elsewhere say their Chardonnay is Chablis-like, it never really is. One taste of a good Chablis and you know that's true.

Chablis is a quintessential shellfish wine. It goes beautifully with oysters, shrimp, scallops and crab, as well as the more delicate fish dishes. Also, salads, cheeses and chicken. Serve cool but not icy.


Scott Biggs - regional manager for Kermit Lynch - will be here on North Union Street on Saturday from 11am - 3pm pouring these 3 selections from his top Chablis producer Domaine Roland Lavantureux paired up with foodstuffs from our DiBruno Bros section and Ethereal Confections lineup. The FranksWine Crew will do the same on Sunday from 12noon - 4pm... of course it FREE, we're cool like that.


We love good stuff here on North Union Street.

Can't make it to the shop? You can buy 'em online here!

FranksWine CHABLIS 6-pack Sampler Case!
You Get 2 Bottles of Each Wine for Only $139.99!!
You Save $69.95... That's 33% Off!!!
Order Now!

Roland Lavantureux is making no-nonsense Chablis that has come to be one of the most reliable of the old reliables in the Kermit Lynch portfolio. He farms 46 acres of Chardonnay vines in Lignorelles, about four miles northwest of Chablis. Upon his completion of wine school in Beaune, Roland founded the domaine in 1978. Today, he is joined by his two sons, one who works with him in the vineyards and cellar, while the other takes the lead in marketing and sales. In addition to making a stunning Chablis, the Lavantureux family also bottles a mouth-watering Petit Chablis, which, depending on the vintage, can easily rival their more highly pedigreed bottling-only proving the unwavering consistency of the Lavantureux family that has kept our relationship with them so strong for over twenty years of selling there here at FranksWine.

Roland Lavantureux 2012 Petit Chablis
Regularly Priced at $24.99
$16.79 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!


The bargain continues to be Roland's Petit Chablis, not an appellation you see around much. Basically, it's Chardonnay made from his grapes grown at higher elevations or on mixed limestone soils in the Chablis region of northern Burgundy.
Lemony yellow and crisp, it is fermented with indigenous yeasts and shows off aromas of citrus, mostly lemon and grapefruit. Stern at first taste, it has a lovely texture and a finish that stays awhile.

Roland Lavantureux 2013 Chablis
Regularly Priced at $29.99
$19.99 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!


Roland's Chablis "village label"comes from 30+ year old vines with fermentation at low temperatures, and aged in 70% stainless steel and 30% neutral oak barrels to preserve a fresh mineral character and pure fruit quality. With surprising value for a Chablis label, this wine has the bones to age for a few years. Well-articulated apple, lemon, melon, pear and lime notes on the nose. The palate offers big and upfront ripe fruit flavours. Nice weight and excellent balance. A class act that shows considerable elegance and refinement at this price point. Drink now through 2020.

RL 2012 Fourchaumes 1er Cru Chablis
Regularly Priced at $49.99
$33.49 with 6-pack Sampler Case Purchase!


Roland's 2012 Chablis Fourchaumes is rich, opulent and totally seamless from start to finish. It boasts stunning depth and integrity to match a full-bodied, voluptuous personality for Chablis. A soft, textured finish rounds things out beautifully. Lavantureux doesn't seem to get a lot of attention in the press, but in my opinion, this is one of the very finest producers in Chablis. I have also had great luck with older bottles, as these are typically wines that age beautifully.

FranksWine CHABLIS 6-pack Sampler Case!
You Get 2 Bottles of Each Wine for Only $139.99!!
You Save $69.95... That's 33% Off!!!
Order Now!






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