Does Chablis lose terroir with age?

After recently tasting about 15 chablis with 15 plus years of age on them it came to me that these wines really tasted more like Meursault than Chablis. The wines have lost that mineral, seashell, iodine smell that I love in Chablis and have taken on the heavier taste of Meursault. If I were tasting blind I would have guessed Meursault of the vast majority of the wines. There is nothing wrong with Meurasualt and I love it in its on right but it was not the flavor profile I was expecting.

This brings me to my question. Does Chablis lose terrior with age? Thoughts/opinions would be appreciated. That was not intended to get into a pissing match which area is better or worse.


My answer would be a qualified “no”. Of course, all wines can reach a common denominator of similarity with enough age, but top Chablis (Dauvissat, Raveneau, etc) should remain recognizably chablis for quite a while. (try one of these from the early 90’s, or 96, and tell me it’s not chablis).

which wines did you taste? Results would of course depend upon which producers were involved, and what vintages. (some producers wines taste like meursault from the outset, as do most producers 2005’s).

I don’t remember the wines but mostly grand cru and a couple Raveneau’s.

Interesting. A trend in Chablis toward less sharply-edged wines may have begun around 15 or so years ago.

Tasted a Raveneau out of the 80s a couple of years ago and I would have said a well aged white burg of some kind? But the important thing it was a fabulous tasting wine. [cheers.gif]

not in my experience
+1 on older Raveneau. I think the terroir distinction is even more obvious with age.

Well said!

Sooner or later it is just Chardonnay. :wink:

Does Chablis lose terrior with age?


If terroir means that you can tell the wine came only from a certain place, but that certainty goes away if the grapes are picked at a certain ripeness or the juice is put into barrels or the wine is a certain age, how certain are you of that “sense of place” that can only be detected if certain conditions are met?

So if in fact you can taste a wine and tell with certainty that it’s Chablis w/out looking at the label, I’d think you’re a good enough taster that you would be able to tell that after a few years.

With enough age, all well-made Chardonnay will converge to some degree.

No. Dauvissat in my experience becomes more site specific.

Which producers did you taste?

While technically accurate, I disagree.
Chablis (that is, those that are well made) never taste like “Chardonnay” - they taste of their place. Even at twenty years out, I find them a unique expression of the grape.
Exceptions, of course - but such is my experience.
Best, Jim

This is a great question and I wish I could taste more bottles of Chablis with age on them - talking 20+ years or so. A bottle of '85 Raveneau Clos last year was AWESOME and very different than I had imagined. Still very much a bottle of Chablis with secondary+ stuff going on (saline tinged floral stuff) - interesting and slightly exhilarating! I’ll have older Chablis in my cellar eventually because I believe in them… I sure wish there were more older well stored examples out there to sample now but those bottles are very few and far between.


I know what you mean about the uniqueness of Chablis.

In the Finger Lakes, sans oak and ML, Chardonnay tastes to me like apples or malt, or a combination of the two, and if untouched by the winemaker, or at least minimally bothered, the wine is Macon-like, but never really as racy and interesting as Chablis. So, I agree that Chablis lends something to the grape that is locally identifiable; Chablis adds its special character to what is–to me–a rather malleable if not so-so grape variety.

So, what does Chardonnay taste like to you?

Hard question, as I think there are several profiles available depending on region and winemaking. And frankly, I’m not overly fond of most of them.
But Chablis is often something else and I love it.
Best, Jim



This is basically the conclusion I came too. Really great wines with more going on than I expected. I was just amazed that some (not all) really tasted like Meursault which brought me to the question. It seems from the group that the responses are almost 50/50 which is also pretty interesting.

Anyway it is an easy solution for me if I want the really prominent Chablis character I will just drink them a little younger.


Unfortunately more true than ever these days.

My experience (and interest) is mainly with Dauvissat, whose wines I consider in the top echelon of white wines anywhere. The different terroirs are very different young…and not that hard to identify. And, older, though they are different from when they are young, they are still very different from each other’s terroir. So…they don’t converge into chardonnary made in Chablis.

I think if someone is well familiar with Chablis and its soils and other characteristics, there is no confusing it with Meursault/Chassagne. (For one thing, it’s hard to find the kimmeridgian oyster shell fossils in those Cote de Beaune wines.)

As I say, I can’t speak to Chablis in general, as I was blown away by Dauvissat’s Chablis on my first visit , in 1996…when I visited many many producers over a couple of days (including his cousins, the Raveneaus). Given his variety of grand crus, 3 premiers and the village wine…I decided soon thereafter to get to know and focus on this estate-- with no regrets. It is a sizeable chunk of my collection, and except for a few premoxed wines from the mid-90s, I’ve never been disappointed. I do question, however, whether they get the “proper” treatment, ie, aeration. I have found way too many times that a Dauvissat wine is better after a day or two in bottle. And, I’ve convinced lots of skeptics on that claim.

But…no confusion with Cote de Beaune chardonnays.

What does FIFY mean!? I was going to say I am getting old but I think Mike D. is older than me. And obviously more hip too!

Fixed it for you. Also seen as “IFTFY” which is obviously, “I fixed that for you.”