Differences between Chablis and the Cote d'Or

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Cris Whetstone
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Differences between Chablis and the Cote d'Or

#1 Post by Cris Whetstone » January 30th, 2012, 5:12 pm

What would you say the main and consistent differences are of Chardonnay based wines from Chablis versus the Cote d'Or in regards to the final product?
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Guillaume Michel
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Re: Differences between Chablis and the Cote d'Or

#2 Post by Guillaume Michel » February 1st, 2012, 5:45 am

Chablis is approx 90 miles north of the Côte de Beaune. It doesn't seem far but it is enough for Chardonnay to have a completely different expression, and of course this expression is mainly due to the soil difference, even if the climate has an effect (they usually harvest 7-8 days before us)

In Chablis, while the climate brings freshness and acidity, the unique soil brings a very important effect on the wines, with the famous gunflint, silex expression. It is this overall collection of aromas and flavours that we call "minerality", completed by sea breeze notes that are another characteristic of our terroir.

The Kimmeridgean soil is rich in marine fossils, trapped in marl, as a result of the presence of the sea 150 million years ago. The Premier and Grands Crus are the best expression of this kind of soil.

As far as vinification is concerned, to me the best way to respect and bring out those expressions is to produce wines in tanks rather than wood barrels.

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Re: Differences between Chablis and the Cote d'Or

#3 Post by Cris Whetstone » February 1st, 2012, 8:13 pm

Hmmm, interesting and restrained answer Guillaume. I think some Burgundy fans might raise an eye at some of the things you say. Many would argue minerality is prominent in the wines of the Cote d'Or. I would say it is clearly more prominent in Chablis.

The vinification of Chardonnay in barrels is something else that might be considered controversial. Some would say the wines of the Cote d'Or can handle it while others might say it brings to much richness and wood characters. I think the prominence of wood on New World Chardonnays helps them mimic many white Burgundies better than some would like to admit though maybe not at the very top levels.
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"Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true." - Francis Bacon

"I had taken two finger-bowls of champagne and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental, and profound." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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