The Lady Chablis: Four Sassy Wines that Just Might Surprise You

“The first time I laid eyes on her, Chablis was standing on the curb, watching me intently as I parked my car…She was beautiful, seductively beautiful in a streetwise way. Her big eyes sparkled. Her skin glowed..She had both hands on her hips and a sassy half-smile on her face as if she had been waiting for me.”

That’s how John Berendt recalled his memorable initial encounter with The Lady Chablis in his bestselling “non-fiction novel,” Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil“She was a minx, a temptress,” Berendt wrote of his fascinating new friend—and he quickly discovered that there was more to her than meets the eye.

The same could be said of Chablis, the wine.

white grapes on the vineChablis is made of Chardonnay grapes grown in the cooler climes of northernmost Burgundy, rooted in limestone soil laden with fossilized oyster shells which lend it a vaguely maritime character.

Usually aged un-oaked, Chablis maintains a touch of Chardonnay’s typical fruitiness. But this is notably tempered by a slight saltiness and a soupçon of “sassy” acidity—much like the late, great Lady Chablis herself, the famous drag queen from Savannah, Georgia.

Chablis is a genie in a bottle, and now’s the time to liberate these four corking vintages. So what are you waiting for? Read on for the scoop.

Four bottles of Chablis in a row, vintage 2015

Chablissienne, Petit Chablis “Pas si Petit,” 2015

Petit Chablis Pas Si Petit Chablisienne 2015The appellation of Petit Chablis refers to Chardonnay grapes planted on slightly younger soil than that of standard Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru wines. Think of it as Chablis’ kid sister…but, as the name would imply, this Petit Chablis is “not so little,” after all. With its rich, buttery, fruity palette and fresh citrus bouquet, Chablissienne Petit Chablis is all grown up.

Grape Variety: Chardonnay

ABV: 12.5%

Where to buy: RRP £12.10 at Bon Coeur Fine Wines

Simonnet-Febvre, Chablis, 2014

Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 2014Picture lemons and green apples, freshly plucked from the tree and shimmering in your glass like liquid sunshine. With its faintly floral aroma, it’s a bouquet in a bottle.

Grape Variety: Chardonnay

ABV: 12.5%

Where to buy: RRP £15.40 at Bon Coeur Fine Wines

Domaine Jean Goulley & Fils, Petit Chablis, Special Cuvée, 2015

Domaine Jean Golly & Fils Petit Chablis Special Cuvee 2015Domaine Jean Goulley is all about “keeping it real.” Formed just over 30 years ago, this relatively young company farms its vineyards organically and ages its wines in stainless steel vats. The result is Chablis in its purest form: fresh and citrusy, with a hint of iodine and minerality. This Special Cuvée is aged longer on the lees (the yeast particles left over from fermentation), giving it a well-rounded body and a bit of hip-swaying “oomph.”

Grape Variety: Chardonnay

ABV: 13%

Where to buy: RRP £18.75 at Winedirect

Domaine des Marronniers, Chablis, 2015

Domaine des Marronniers Chablis 2015If you’re looking for a little taste of honey, then wrap your lips around this. Its smooth sweetness is balanced by a crisp minerality and the tongue-tingling tartness of green apples and lime.

As The Lady Chablis herself might say, “Yayyiss, honey child! I can dig it!”

Grape Variety: Chardonnay

ABV: 12.5%

Where to buy: RRP £13.99 at House of Townend

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