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Winner Details

FRANCE: Chablis

2014: Gold: 5; Silver: 7; Bronze: 2; Commended:  3
2013: Gold: 4; Silver: 5; Bronze: 0; Commended: N/A
Must-list status: 100%
Overall SWA performance 2014: A

It’s been mischievously suggested that Chablis is the quickest way to a customer’s wallet, and it’s certainly true that for many of the public it’s just a quicker way of writing ‘dry white wine’.

In the past, this has made for almost cynically lazy winemaking, with flight after flight of highly average, over-priced wines. But not this year. 2014 was a magnificent year for Chablis in the Sommelier Wine Awards, with a record number of Golds and the highest medal tally ever, by quite some distance.

The 2012 vintage has given the region’s wines that archetypal metallic zing, but (unusually) combined it with approachability. And when typicity intersects with consistency and drinkability, you end up with happy teams of tasters.

‘There were some good wines here that were clearly Chablis in style, but balanced, and showing more of that lean minerality and complexity as you got up to Premier and Grand Cru level,’ said Damon Little of Restaurant Nathan Outlaw.

The only slight negative was pricing – specifically for generic Chablis. For a wine that more or less has to get on any wine list sub £40, it’s noticeable how few wines were submitted under £10 ex VAT.

But stylistically this was one of the strongest flights in this year’s competition – as proved by the ladder of Golds, from £9 to almost £40, and for such a must-list category our tasters felt that it should be possible to trade up hesitant customers.


This is the third year on the trot that the Domaine Jean Defaix Chablis has made it on to the Gold List.

From the Tasting Teams

‘It is important not to just list Chablis at any price because of the name on the label. It’s better to list a more expensive example than a bad example for less money.’ Charles van Wyk,

‘Like Sancerre, Chablis remains a must list. No matter how individual you want your list to be, people expect to see it and as you are running a business it would be mad not to.’ Marizio Palomba,