- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Joseph Drouhin, Chablis Premier Cru, 2004, $29

The village and vineyards of Chablis lie at the northwestern edge of Burgundy, in a viticultural hinterland that seems almost too cold for fine wine. Yet Chablis is home to fantastic whites. Made from chardonnay, they taste nothing like chardonnays from California, let alone other Burgundies made from this grape. Instead of rich, forward flavors, theirs are subtle and nuanced, charming with grace and elegance rather than power.

The vineyards in Chablis are classified as crus. Village wines receive no special designation, but the historically superior spots are designated as premier crus, with a small number of the very best marked as grand crus. These crus almost always sit on south- or southwest-facing slopes, soaking up as much sunshine and heat as possible.

Joseph Drouhin’s Chablis Premier Cru is made from grapes from three vineyards — Montmains, Vaillons and Secher. It displays characteristic citrus and apple fruit flavors, with secondary aromas and flavors reminiscent of wet stones or minerals, fresh herbs or hay, and even a touch of sweet spice. Multilayered, it is at the same time gentle, almost gentile — a wine to savor.

Chablis can age remarkably well, and this wine should continue to offer delicious drinking for five to 10 more years. Try it with seafood, particularly crustaceans or virtually any sort of white-fleshed fish. It also goes wonderfully with fresh corn. (Imported by Dreyfus Ashby.)

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