Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Glass of Gravel, a Twist of Lemon

If you've never tried a French chardonnay with lots of terroir, no oak, and very little fruit, you really should try to find one or put it on your wish-list.

Typically these wines come from the region surrounding the town of Chablis in Burgundy, and can cost a packet. John at Brim to the Dregs clued me in on a classification--Petit Chablis--that I've never head of, but where good bargains can be found. He wisely pointed out to his readers that French Chablis doesn't have anything to do with the jugged, boxed, and massively bottled supermarket varieties. I want to underline this point: this is not THAT CHABLIS. This is altogether different and marvelous.

Sometimes, careful hunting in a Costco near you can reveal good bargains in Chablis--even grand and premier cru chablis. Like this 2002 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru Grande Cuvée ($16.99, Costco). What a wonderful, wonderful wine. Drinking it was like ordering a glass of gravel with a twist of lemon. It was pale and straw-colored, with whiffs of wet beach and stone followed by a mouthful of mineral tastes with the faintest hint of citrus around the edges. Excellent QPR.

Of course, there is the issue of what food to pair with your glass of gravelly wine? I thought seafood and vegetables would be good, perhaps with a little pasta. I tried this Chablis with just such a dish, accented with cream and fresh herbs, which you can find by clicking here. The mineral notes in the wine picked up the saline qualities in the shrimp, and the wine's nice acidity cut through the slight richness of the sauced pasta.

This isn't a quaffable wine, so much as a wine to wonder at, meditate on, and enjoy down to the last drops. It's a wine that will engender conversation--have you ever had a wine like this??--and take you straight back to the store to look for more.


Unknown said...

No fair - there isn't a Costco anywhere near me. I'll have to go scouting for some other value Chablis at my local stores. I hope I do as well as you did.

I'll make sure I pass on the Almaden Mountain Chablis.

Anonymous said...

Nice photo! Did you take that one? I like the composition...

winedeb said...

Your description has turned me around on Chablis. Since I am in Ohio, I will search this one out or one maybe similar. Nice photo also!
PS - on our way from the airport my first stop was a big wine store in N. Kentucky called Party Source, which you can loose yourself for a day. Quickly grabbed a case of various reds and whites, but could not resist some Roses' that I have not seen. I got to move on from those but cannot resist!

Dr. Debs said...

Hi everybody. Sorry to be slow in replying. John, that's bad news about Costco. But this vineyard seems to be pretty widely available so maybe you'll stumble across it one of these days. Joel and Deb, thanks for the photo compliment! I have to admit it's my favorite, since I somehow managed to convey something about the wine in it. And Deb, yes, try a real chablis some day. Sounds like you hit a great store in N. Kentucky. Keep us posted!

Joe said...

La Chablisienne is a great value Chablis, dependable, and not to difficult to find. Good choice!