Why La Chablisienne is Essential
Modern Chablis is a region of exceedingly high-quality wines. Selecting who among them belongs on the Essential Winemakers of France list is no easy task, and in truth, there are a half dozen other producers I am also considering. But La Chablisienne makes the cut because their consistently excellent wines are also widely available and not excessively expensive. Want to understand Chablis? Start here.
La Chablisienne is Chablis' largest land-owner and works with 250 growers across roughly 25% of Chablis' land. Rather than phone it in — as co-ops sometimes do — they make careful decisions about each wine, both in collaboration with growers in the vineyard, and in the winery. For fans of Italian wine, the natural comparison here is to Produttori del Barbaresco: a singular focused co-op that not only leads the way on terroir-centric wines, but also serves as an accessible, widely available ambassador for the appellation. In an interesting twist, the growers are required to press the grapes immediately after harvest and deliver the must to the co-op. The alternative would be a tractor log-jam at the winery.
La Chablisienne is not dogmatic about its oak usage. Here, the sensitivity to each vineyard and its terroir is high, which drives the ultimate decisions on whether to vinify completely in stainless steel, completely in small oak barrels, or a mixture of both. As a result, the wines are character-driven beauties.