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05 December 2011

Posh Chablis @ M&S

Marks & Spencer has always had a reputation for good reliable Chablis in my book, usually expressing exactly what you’d expect and want from a nice bottle of Chabbers. And the latest vintages of their whole Chablis range didn’t disappoint (except one) when sampled at their London press tasting a few weeks ago. These 'steely' dry whites are made from 100% Chardonnay, as is all Chablis stating what might be b******* obvious for some perhaps, although producers haven’t always put this simple and nevertheless interesting fact on their back-labels. Classic ‘straightforward’ Chablis is usually unoaked; and the higher quality ‘Premier’ and ‘Grand Cru’ wines, sourced from certain specific vineyard sites, often see varying degrees of barrel ageing depending on how rich the wine is, the producer’s style or vintage quality. Mind you, they’re getting dearer though with no Chablis under a tenner at M&S nowadays (apart from the 'Petit' version, which I didn't try this time and have found OK but lacking substance in the past), although they do occasional promotions like everyone else of course!

2008 Chablis La Chablisienne (12.5% alc.) - classic creamy vs steely style, nice intense buttery fruit vs crisp bite and light lees edges; maturing oily vs still fresh finish. Good + : £10.99
2008 Organic Chablis Jean-Marc Brocard (12.5%) - from a biodynamically farmed vineyard where they use “medicinal plants against insects and diseases.” Deep coloured and fruity, has almost toasty edges with exotic buttery fruit vs very crisp bite and long lingering finish; quirky stuff but lovely with it. £14.99 170 stores.
2007 Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume Union des Viticulteurs de Chablis (12.5%) - quite rich and mature on the nose, subtle concentration of warm buttery fruit vs steely cut vs mature oily finish; fair class with elegant balance and length. Very good, drinking well now. £18 300 stores.
2008 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos Louis Moreau (13%) - richer and toastier profile, concentrated vs crisp mouth-feel; quite 'impressive' although perhaps trying too hard to be a white Burgundy from further south. £38 50 stores.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.