Know your Chablis Wines: A Pairing Challenge.

"Wines reflect their terroir," have you noticed how almost instinctively we define wines, French wines in particular, by their area of origin: it's a Bordeaux, a Beaujolais etc... So what is a Chablis?

Chablis information:
Chablis is a white Burgundy, The grape used is Chardonnay. Chablis' viticulture was first developed by Cistercian monks. In this small area halfway between Paris and Beaune, winters are hard and summers relatively hot. The soil composition is unique, with its limestone and small oyster fossils. 300 vineyards produce the equivalent of 10,000 bottles, of which 3 out of every 10 is sold in the UK.

So there you have it, it would seem that when we want a "good bottle" of white wine, to go with our Fish and Chips, we are likely to reach for a Chablis. There are four different appellations of Chablis: Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Chablis, Petit Chablis.

The challenge: Pebble Soup was one of 30 bloggers invited by "The Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne" to give their ideas for food pairing with Chablis wine. There are plenty of blogs out there from wine experts and sommeliers which are brilliant, but they wanted to hear from bloggers who don’t necessarily have any experience in wine or food and wine pairing but think they have some ideas which could work.

Having been selected, and now in possession of two bottles of Premier Cru at Pebble Soup HQ, research was full on in order to find the best food pairing, next, we got tasting with gusto what we didn't know we learnt as we went along.

The research
First port of call: my friend Serge. If there is anything you need to know about wine, he is your man. I e-mailed him around midnight with pairing suggestions and 5 minutes later, I got a reply, "For the Premier Cru 2009, your choice of poultry is excellent. As far as the 2008 is concerned I would drink it, as a pre-dinner drink, with a selection of cheeses such as goat cheese rolled in ashes." What? had he lost his mind? a white wine with cheese? plus contrary to my expectations there was no mention of fish here.
Next morning, I was reading all about pairing and yes, Serge was correct a Chablis is excellent with cheese.

The Tasting:
 He and I set to the task. The tulip glasses  at the ready, the right conditions were created, a Premier Cru is best served at 12-14 degrees. The wine temperature is crucial, especially for a pre-dinner drink. So, the wine thermometer got its first outing...ever. At this stage, I couldn't stop giggling. I got a few stern looks in return. We looked at the clarity, the intensity, smelt and tasted. Here are the results.

The verdict and the pairing
Chablis Premier Cru, Mont de Milieu 2008, Jean Paul and Benoit Droin, RRP £29.00, was a rather a luxurious pre-dinner drink, with its selection of cheeses: mostly fresh French Goat's cheeses. The pairing of goat cheeses and the mature white wine was just sublime.  The wine is pale, clear almost limpid. It tastes of citrus fruits and pepper, it is fresh and delicious. It lives a long, long time in the mouth, which is what you want for an aperitif.

Chablis Premier Cru, Domaine de la boissoneuse 2009, Julien Brocard, RRP £19.39. This wine is certified organic even I, who is not an expert, could appreciate the difference. It is full of life, vibrant and zingy.  Again the citrus came through on the nose, the acidity, on the tasting, with some curious flavours such as warm bread, pineapple and wood.  My choice of poultry was chicken, I love to get vegetables in season, luckily Morels are just ready. This Chablis was like a musician it made the Chicken with a Cream Sauce, Morels and Button Mushrooms sing.

What else did I learn? I was reminded that even when on unfamiliar grounds thinking outside the box is important: cheese doesn't call automatically for red wine. It is worth doing the research so if you want to know more about Chablis wines, the official website is full of information.

I received 2 bottles of Chablis to take part in this challenge. My thanks to "The Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have decided to splurge on a grand cru chablis for my sweetie, who is a sommelier-in-training. I am going to experiment - pairing it against other wines to see who "wins" the pairing with lobster thermidor...HOWEVER, given the cost of the chablis I wanted something simpler that would let it sing. Now I have the answer - a selection of goat cheeses!



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