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Home Winners > Winners 2013 > FRANCE: Chablis

Winner Details

FRANCE: Chablis

While the other ‘must-stock’ French white (Sancerre) failed to deliver, this was a record year for Chablis, with four Golds and five Silvers

This was Chablis’ best-ever performance in the Sommelier Wine Awards by some distance. For a category that’s never had more than two places on the Gold List before, to pick up four (and there were strong calls to upgrade some of the Silvers as well) was an impressive effort.

It was good to see the spread of prices, too. A must-stock category that’s able to produce good wines from sub-£10 all the way up to £60 a bottle is clearly in good health.

Not, of course, that it’s ubiquitous. Being such a classic wine style there’s no shortage of producers trading on the region’s reputation, and our tasters had to weed out a fair amount of dull or boring examples. Not only did some of the wines have little to say, they weren’t shy about charging an indecent amount of money for not saying it. (Are you following this?)

‘I was a little disappointed about the value,’ sighed Hakkasan London’s Diana Rollan. ‘I expected to find more around the £10-£12 mark.’

Maybe it’s Chablis’ chilly northern-ness. In good wines it gives them a twang and zip that runs through the wine like a rolled Scottish ‘r’ through the word minerality. In bad wines, they’re just flat, thin and dull. But still expensive.

But the fact that all of the medal winners managed a Gold or Silver shows that when the region’s growers do get it right they can win over even the most hard-bitten sommeliers.

‘I was expecting elegance and finesse… and elegance and finesse were there. I was pleased that they represent their region,’ said Nicolá Gomes de Jesus from Baku.

And for a wine that more than any other makes the job of the sommelier unnecessary (we lost count of the number of tasters who told us that Chablis ‘sells itself’), this was a good performance.

‘There was good, sound, typical Chablis. Four Golds and five Silvers says quite a lot,’ mused Hakkasan’s Christine Parkinson as she put the Gold List together.

‘There’s lots of demand from the bottom to the top, it’s a classic, it has to be on everyone’s list.’
Andrea Briccarello, Galvin Restaurants

‘I sell more Chablis 1er Cru than house white.’
Charles Pashby-Taylor, Dabbous