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Chablis shoot-out ends in dead heat

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Alice Peters, and Jason Wentworth

True Chablis is one of the world's truly fine white wines. It is made from Chardonnay grapes grown in vineyards surrounding the village of Chablis in France's northern Burgundy region. The cool climate of this area, combined with soils full of chalky limestone, produces wines that are typically crisp, bone-dry, and possess a steely mineral character that can be mouthwatering and delicious.

The best vineyards of Chablis are designated grand cru or premier cru. Wines produced from other parts of the Chablis district are simply labeled Chablis — Petit Chablis if made from grapes grown in outlying vineyards. Chablis and Petit Chablis, while generally less full and intense than their cru counterparts, frequently deliver in spades the crisp minerality of good Chablis.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently blind tasted 16 examples of Chablis and Petit Chablis, and found that the overall quality was high, with good winemaking quite evident. Few of the wines showed even a hint of new oak in their aroma or flavor; these are wines for wine drinkers tired of oak-laden Chardonnay!

Two wines tied for first place. The 2005 Boudin Chablis, $19.99 per bottle, is textbook Chablis, with a nose that hints at apple and citrus, buttressed by an appealing hint of wet stones. Crisp and dry, it is a perfect wine to accompany a plate of oysters or any simply prepared seafood [Sku 707].*

The 2004 Verget Chablis "Grand Elevage," $24.99 per bottle, is a bigger, richer wine, but still has the typical stony Chablis character in its finish. Good with seafood, the Verget would also pair well with roast chicken, wild sausages, or creamy cheeses [Sku 9549].* Both of these mouthwatering wines are fine examples of classic Chablis.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 05/21/2007.

*To purchase this wine, simply type its "Sku" into the "Find" field at the top of the page, and then click "Go."

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