Saturday 19 October 2019

What's in a name?

Liam Campbell, Photo: Ronan Lang.
Liam Campbell, Photo: Ronan Lang.
Chablis 2011 Saint Martin, Domaine Laroche
Chablis 2011 Montmains Premier Cru, Chanson, 13pc

Liam Campbell

You know you're famous when soap-opera characters are named after you, as with 'Footballer's Wife' and Chardonnay. Christened centuries ago after a French village in its native home in the Burgundy region, the Chardonnay vine has been planted globally in both hemispheres in recent decades, and the Chardonnay wine has been on many, many lips ever since.

Few grapes can better convert into aromas and flavour the personality of the vineyard's soil, the local climate and the winemaker's skills than Chardonnay.

Always dry, its styles vary from full-bodied and friendly, peaches and cream in hotter climates to restrained and lean, lemon, green apple and refreshing in cooler climates.

Europe's tradition of naming a wine after a locality, instead of the grape variety, explains why many people do not necessarily associate Chablis with its native Chardonnay. Located 140km northwest of the heart of Burgundy, the town of Chablis is a satellite of the wine region and is almost as near to Paris as Burgundy's gastronomic capital, Dijon.

Chalky limestone soil is Chablis's defining character. Once an inland sea, the added character of the prehistoric marine fossils in the soil resurface in the best vineyards as a salty, minerally bouquet and a zinc and oyster-shell note on the tastebuds.

Celebrate World Chardonnay Day tomorrow by chilling with a Chablis.

1) Chablis 2011 Montmains Premier Cru, Chanson, 13pc

Pungent with flinty aromas. Crisp and very dry. Apple, lemon and zest invigorate the tastebuds and continue to the very long finish. Make a date with a Molly Malone creamy stew of cockles and mussels.

€25.99 on promotion until June 2 (from €29.99) at O'Brien's Dublin citywide

2) PETIT Chablis 2010 Classic Collection, 12pc

Aromas of lemons precede a bone-dry palate with crisp, green-skinned apples. The light alcohol maintains the delicate balance and the finish of citrusy flavours lasts long. An excellent introduction to Chablis. Open with oysters.

€11.50 at Superquinn nationwide

3) Chablis 2011 Domaine Nathalie & Gilles Fevre, Burgundy, France, 12.5pc

Minerally aromas and chalk-dry with tangy juicy lemon and white-apple flavours. The mineral streak runs through the tastebuds to the finish. Partner with hake on shredded cabbage with cream and crumbled smoked rashers.

€19.75 at O'Leary's Foodstore, Cootehill, Co Cavan, and

4) Chablis 2011 Saint Martin, Domaine Laroche, 12.5pc

Classic Chablis with that highly regarded flint and minerally bouquet. Grapefruit fresh, green apples and lime with a zinc minerality on the palate. Serve with battered fish and chips.

€23.99 at Mulcahy's, Charleville; Stack's, Listowel; Next Door, Thomastown. In Dublin: Hole in the Wall, Dublin 7; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Cheers @ The Coach House; Redmond's, Ranelagh, and Gibney's, Malahide

5) Chablis 2009 Reserve de Vaudon, Joseph Drouhin, 12.5pc

A concentrated earthy and minerally bouquet. The palate delivers mouthwatering lemony fruit with green crunchy apples and fresh white fruits. Serve with a bowl of steaming mussels in a broth of white wine, garlic and cream.

€24.99 in Dublin at Kelly's, Clontarf; Redmond's, Ranelagh, and O'Briens Wines citywide

For detailed information on the Burgundy region, from food festivals to jazz sessions and wine tastings in the region, visit

Irish Independent

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