Chablis’ legend/Blanchot : A Great French Wine

Wine label Blanchot Grand CruOne of the pleasures of wine tasting as a professional is the experience of sharing with other professionals and debating the effect of wine aeration. I wanted to please a friend who is also a sommelier and with whom I had enjoyed some good experiences in his relatively new restaurant. So I asked him what wine would give him a thrill to try. His answer was quite unexpected,  he requested a “Chablis from Raveneau”.

To my mind this was an interesting reflection on the individuality of the wine tasting journeys we all undertake. To put it into context, my friend Mr X is a younger sommelier albeit with a very good knowledge of wine: his experiences with the wine relates to his few years in the practice as a professional (there is only so much which can be tasted in one day or a succession of days!).

I managed to find what I consider a real jewel in my cellar despite the fact that I am not a big white wine collector, a Chablis Blanchot Grand Cru 2002 from Francois Raveneau .  As an aside, a Chablis Grand Cru is the finest of white wines. So in this knowledge, Mr X and I went along to enjoy a Chablis wine tasting experience with a third sommelier friend of ours- a real group of professionals who were prepared to dissect and enjoy the experience to the full and to decide if the wine did or did not need aeration to lift the wine tasting experience to a new high.

As a professional working in a restaurant I sell, open and serve Chablis on a daily basis. It is a favourite white wine in London where it is perceived as a relatively safe drink which is not too challenging. Dealing with it on a daily basis for clients it is not a wine I think of for pure pleasure and for my own relaxation. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I don’t enjoy it but simply that it is not a point focus for me. More on that point in a later story!


Chabils Blanchot- White wine Background

Inspecting Chablis terroirBack to my little Chablis Blanchot Grand Cru 2002, an exciting little bottle with promises of a fine tasting from a great French wine. Let me establish the credentials of this grand cru. The title alone tells you that it is produced under strict French requirements- such as a higher minimum potential alcohol content than for a standard Chablis and a requirement that they are matured until at least the 15th March in the year following the harvest. This wine has been designed to be splendid. On top of the regional requirements it is also made by one of the best winemakers, Francois Raveneau, a descendent from one of the best winemaking families of the region. Blanchot is a name derived from the intense whiteness of the limestone based terroir, remember ‘blanc’ being French for white. It is recognised as the best grand cru site that Raveneau holds and it faces south-east (other vineyards face south west) so it gets the morning sun. What an exciting combination of soil and light to impart into the grapes!


Chablis Wine Tasting Notes: Aeration Results

 The wine tasting experience showed a concentrated, tight, deep wine which was somewhat expected from the 2002 vintage, but it was not showing much of its core. After debating on the ability of the wine to open up we aerated it through my WineWeaver– always a handy little tool to have! Truly, the youth angle was incompressible without some aeration. However, after aerating the wine through the WineWeaver the nose exploded into the smell of nuts and minerals imparted by the limestone soil followed by a purity of expression. Following aeration, the palate took on another dimension too giving way to textured layers and depth, always with superb ripe white fleshy fruit flavours, spices, nuts and a wonderful acid structure combined with minerals that gives so much length to the delivery. The added benefit of aerating the wine through the WineWeaver transformed it into a sensational wine. Whilst it was young it brought me back to memories of how much I enjoy such elegant wines and that there is more to life than just red!


Editor’s Note:

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Chris’ latest Chablis wine tasting notes. To read more from this Professional Sommelier, visit the main page of the Sommelier’s Corner Blog on

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