The Chablis wine region is the northernmost area of Burgundy, and also the name of a town located there. The Burgundy wine region begins in the Yonne Valley, roughly midway between Paris and Dijon. It is more widely known as Chablis, a bit of a misnomer as Chablis is only one of its 5 primary vineyard areas, the other villages: Auxerre, Tonnerre, Joigny and Vezelay.
The Appellation d'Origine Controlee system divides the region into 4 classifications: Petit Chablis AOC, Chablis AOC, Chablis Premier Cru AOC and Chablis Grand Cru AOC.
All wines in the appellations are white wines from Chardonnay grapes (although there are some minor appellations that produce wines from Pinot Noir, Aligote, Sauvignon etc). The Yonne Valley produces a great diversity of wine, there is sparkling wine, Cremant de Bourgogne, produced throughout the Yonne.The area is made up of 20 or so small villages clustered around the centrally located village of Chablis, which is divided in two by the Serein River.
The Grand Crus of Chablis are connected on a chain of 3 interlocking slopes on the right bank overlooking the Serein.
The 7 Grand Cru vineyards are - Blanchot, Les Clos, Valmur, Grenouilles, Vaudesir, Les Preuses and Bougros.
The 82 Premier Crus are situated on a series of hillsides both on the left and right side of the river. The best Premier Crus are, like the Grand Crus, on the right bank facing the southwest.
The soil is a unique combination of clay and chalk called 'Kimmeridgian', and it is profusely littered by fossils of oysters. It gives the wines a unique profile of aromas and flavours. It is often referred to as a gout de la pierre la fusil, or gunflint character. The fruit flavour is less intense than elsewhere in Burgundy, as Chablis' northern location produces flavours of green apples, pineapples and pink grapefruit. The wines are also typified by their strong acidity, often requiring time in the bottle to age and find balance.