Domaine Barat Chablis Vaillons Premier Cru 2016
Pair with fish terrine, seafood, Chablis ham, grilled andouillette, escargots, or savory fondue.
Domaine Barat is located about a mile outside of the city of Chablis in the village of Milly. The vineyards are managed by Ludovic, who works with organic, herbicide-free fertilizers and viticulture practices, and green pruning. The estate's coveted vines are planted on South-facing slopes, on Kimmeridgian and Portlandian marl formed millions of years ago during the Jurassic era when the sea covered Chablis. Even today, the mineral-rich clay-limestone soil remains plush with marine fossils, which lend an intense and vivacious minerality and freshness to the wines.
Thanks to new methods that reduce frost damage and make wine making cleaner, the region of Chablis has been on the upswing since the 1960's. In the last ten years, production by small Domaines has increased greatly as has its popularity. With its characteristic steely acidity, flintiness and mineral qualities, Chablis is some of the greatest white wine in the world.
The source of the most racy, light and tactile, yet uniquely complex Chardonnay, Chablis, while considered part of Burgundy, actually reaches far past the most northern stretch of the Côte d’Or proper. Its vineyards cover hillsides surrounding the small village of Chablis about 100 miles north of Dijon, making it actually closer to Champagne than to Burgundy. Champagne and Chablis have a unique soil type in common called Kimmeridgian, which isn’t found anywhere else in the world except southern England. A 180 million year-old geologic formation of decomposed clay and limestone, containing tiny fossilized oyster shells, spans from the Dorset village of Kimmeridge in southern England all the way down through Champagne, and to the soils of Chablis. This soil type produces wines full of structure, austerity, minerality, salinity and finesse.
Chablis Grands Crus vineyards are all located at ideal elevations and exposition on the acclaimed Kimmeridgian soil, an ancient clay-limestone soil that lends intensity and finesse to its wines. The vineyards outside of Grands Crus are Premiers Crus, and outlying from those is Petit Chablis. Chablis Grand Cru, as well as most Premier Cru Chablis, can age for many years.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.