Chablis is the northernmost region of Burgundy, France, where only one wine is made: Chardonnay. The cooler northern climate helps preserve the grape's acidity—that, along with the chalky soil, makes for a unique terroir whose characteristics come through in the wine. For me (and for many others), Chablis is consistently the purest expression of the Chardonnay grape. The wines tasted, all intro level, were quite good—so good we had a tie for first and a tie for second place. Here are the four top picks:
2014 Bichot Domaine Long-Depaquit Chablis, $21
Creamy lime aromas are backed by peach and savory herb. Sweet tangerine and smooth stone fruit flavors surround a core of racy citrus fruit. A nice flintiness comes through on the finish, along with a nuanced hit of ginger.
2014 Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis, $29
Opens with floral melon aromas, a zippy citrus component and traces of salty lime, mineral and smoke. Beautifully balanced on the palate, the succulent blood orange and lemon tart flavors are backed by racy acidity on the finish.
2014 Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis, $26
The nose is beautifully floral and filled with lemon custard, green apple and stone fruit aromas. This is a well structured wine with a steely texture, offering fresh apple, lime and blood orange flavors. The finish has an edgy minerality and a refreshingly crisp acidity.
2014 Simonnet-Febvre Chablis, $21
Opens with light tropical fruit aromas colored by touches of rosehip and clover. Ripe fruit flavors dominate the palate (Granny Smith apple, papaya and pear) while soft acidity marks the intriguing mineral and lightly saline finish.