Chablis - questions about the future

William Kelley’s Chablis article speaks of the contrasting 2022 and 2021 vintages, with 2022 perhaps a harbinger for the district in light of climate change. One phrase grabbed my attention: “Overall, however, it is clear that climate is changing faster than viticulture…”

For decades, Mosel Riesling Kabinetts were a staple of my consumption. But the region no longer grows wines with 7% alcohol and 1% residual sugar, titratable acidity approaching 1.00 and pH down near 3.00. (Ironically, 2021 might represent a rare return to this style).

I now have to ask if the Chablis I’ve enjoyed for half a century might be similarly endangered… and if so, might there be alternatives within the district.

I know that the Grand and Premier Cru vineyard designations were to a large extent based on the abilities of the sites to fully ripen the fruit. I know nothing about how their soils differ from the soils of parcels that are ‘Chablis’ or ‘Petit Chablis’. Is it possible that (along with changes in viticulture), these ‘lesser’ Appellations will produce wines more in the style of the Grand and Premier Crus of the past? Are there lieux-dits for the vineyards of Chablis and Petit Chablis? I don’t remember ever seeing such a designation on a label. I believe that every vineyard in France has a name, is it even legal to use a vineyard name on a Chablis? Are there vineyards in the Chablis Appellation with comparable soils to the Premier Crus, that can now ripen fruit to the level that earned the Premier Crus their designations?

Questions, questions.
Answers and comments please!

Dan Kravitz


fascinating / following.

Good comprehensive Chablis detail here. 79 lieu-dits, contained in 47 official climats. The Climats of Chablis: micro-terroirs - The wines of Chablis

There are exceptions, but for the most part, there hasn’t been a real need to delineate the different portions of Village Chablis, as that was the most important defining feature. A good example is Patrick Piuze who makes a bunch of different cuvees, and attributes them to the communes within the village - “Terroir de Fye,” “Terroir de Chichee,” etc. Patrick Piuze Wines : Buy Patrick Piuze Wine Online - Millesima


I think only the 47 climats are allowed on Chablis labels. A good source of info: Chablis et ses 47 climats : Les micro terroirs - Les vins de Chablis

Edit: already posted by @Trevor_C above with the english link :slightly_smiling_face:


If years like 08, 14, 17 are no longer going to be in the Chablis rotation, time to backfill…a lot.

I read @William_Kelley reviews and Chablis prologue on plane today. Has me fearful for the future of Chablis, much like Dan references the loss of true Kabinett most years. Hopefully he chimes in on Chablis and terroirs that can continue to produce more classic Chablis.


From Jasper Morris Inside Burgundy 2nd edition:

I have often been told that it is not permitted to mention the name of a lieu-dit on the label of straightforward Chablis, but in fact the law is slightly more subtle. A lieu-dit may be named as long as the harvest from that specific vineyard has been declared separately as part of the déclaration de récolte - and the lettering must be no more than 2mm in height.

I think Petit Chablis is mostly Portlandian soils not Kimmeridgian.


I have had a number of bottles of 2015 Moreau-Naudet villages Chablis and they have been wonderful. I think this was a pretty warm vintage there.

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This is why I love these boards…. Great questions. Following closely


A similar question is being asked about Champagne, and the UK is betting they’ll come out ahead.




Heh. I’m only talking sparklers. Then again,
Ch. Goodfellow is waiting in the wings.

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So am I. We will be seeing more and more sparkling wine coming out of Oregon.

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Kent was poised to be part of Champagne, and then that darned Brexit happened.

The Big Boys of Champagne had bought thousands of acres. The chalk was there. The climate was there. There were billions to be made.

Oh well. Good English bubbly is priced like Champagne and for the moment I’ll take the latter.

Dan Kravitz


How would you compare 17 to 14? I LOVE 2014, haven’t tasted much 17 yet.

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My understanding is that the petit Chablis distinction is for:

  1. non Chardonnay grapes
  2. non kimmeridgian soils (portlandian)

14 is a more complete wine for me. It has depth with out being pondering and it has brightness without being overtly acidic. 17 misses a bit of the first part while having a tad more of the second making it very good, but short of 14.

My $0.02.

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With current/future pricing I’ll be back filling.

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If still wine is hard to make profitable for a small winery, wait until they get into sparkling! :joy:

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The article presents an intriguing perspective on Chablis wines but falls short in several areas due to its reliance on what I would call broad assumptions. For instance, the article suggests that the effects of climate change are uniform across the Chablis region. This is an overly simplistic view. As we’ve seen in other wine regions like Burgundy and Champagne, the impact of climate change can vary significantly due to microclimates and specific terroirs. A more nuanced analysis that considers individual vineyards is would be more worthy of the critic.

Furthermore, the article implies that thoughtful cellar practices and farming techniques can preserve the traditional profile of Chablis wines. While these practices may mitigate some of the climate change effects, they are unlikely to fully compensate for fundamental shifts such as warmer winters and prolonged droughts. The efficacy of these adaptations in preserving the classic Chablis profile remains questionable.

The article also delves into vintage comparisons, attributing differences mainly to climate. This approach overlooks the multifaceted influences of soil conditions, winemaking techniques, and even marketing strategies. A more comprehensive analysis that takes these factors into account would offer a more accurate picture. The critic like other critics oversold 2021, sure there was acidity but no realy substance to back this up in the wines.

Interestingly, the article does not explore innovative approaches to preserving the essence of Chablis. For example, adopting grape varieties that are better suited to changing climate conditions, such as Aligoté, could be a viable strategy for maintaining the region’s unique characteristics rather than sticking to Chardonnay at all costs.

Lastly, the article tends to generalize about the Chablis region, much like similar articles about the Champagne region. I understand most readers are happy with this but I fear the distorting factor. I am not so active in Burugndy as I once was but from my Champagne experience bringing everyting down to a common demoninator when the diversity of terroirs and winemaking practices have become so individual and complex, makes generalising so difficult and even unhelpful.


So, just rip it all out and start over? It’s an article on Chablis. I love your contributions here, but this is ridiculous criticism.