While not explicitly written on the label, all wines from Chablis in northern France are made exclusively from one grape: Chardonnay. It is here, in the northernmost region of Burgundy, that some believe the grape is expressed in its “purest” form.
Grand cru and premier cru vineyards are planted on unique Kimmeridgian chalk soils, which date back to the Jurassic period. This helps wines from these vineyards to carry a steely, flinty character alongside the typical taut plum and citrus fruit flavors of the region.
If you’re a staunch ABC (anything but Chardonnay) drinker due to the grape’s (in)famous oaky, buttery expressions, give Chablis a chance to change your mind. While some high-end bottlings are fermented or aged in oak, most Chablis sees very little to no time in oak, making it a racy, fresh expression of Chardonnay.
Louis Jadot 2016 Blanchot Grand Cru (Chablis); $95, 95 points. This dense, wood-aged wine is packed with ripe yellow fruits. The full, rich nature of the wine shows the full-blown intensity of the great exposure of this grand cru vineyard. The wine’s instant fruitiness belies its aging potential. Resist drinking now and wait until 2023. Kobrand. —Roger Voss
Bernard Defaix 2018 Côte de Léchet Premier Cru (Chablis); $32, 92 points. A touch of flinty reduction for now clouds the nose of this wine. On the palate a juicy, abundant but fresh notion of ripeness references ripe, juicy pear, with a touch of lemon. This is generous and ripe but anchored in stone. Concentration and juicy intensity at the core is helped along by just the right amount of nutty, sonorous wood that strikes a lovely balance. Winebow. —Anne Krebiehl, MW
Domaine Hamelin 2018 Beauroy Premier Cru (Chablis); $35, 93 points. A light buttery note on the nose of this wine leads to a creamy element in the mouth. On the palate it joins ripe, generous but fresh fruit with a pithy, lemony and bright texture. The wine offers concentration, poise and balancing freshness. AP Wine Imports. —A.K.
Albert Bichot 2018 Domaine Long-Depaquit Vaillons Premier Cru (Chablis); $48, 92 points. The slightest flinty reduction accompanies ripe Mirabelle plum fruit on the nose of this wine. The palate is expressive in its juiciness, concentration and fresh core. It conveys cool freshness and a zesty texture along with a slightly creamy touch. Textured and vivid, the wine offers ripeness, generous structure and a dry finish. Albert Bichot USA. —A.K.
Christophe & Fils 2018 Mont de Milieu Premier Cru (Chablis); $63, 92 points. A shy nose reveals a touch of blossom honey and ripe yellow apple. The palate of this wine then expands into juicy, vivid and ripe freshness, capturing the ripeness of 2018 but presenting it with freshness. A hint of fennel seed lends interest. There is chalky texture, too, and a long, dry finish. The Source. —A.K.
Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils 2018 Vaillons Premier Cru (Chablis); $50, 92 points. A touch of reduction still plays about ripe pear notes on the nose of this wine. The palate adds hazelnut and a whiff of smoke, taming that ripeness and creating a rounded but fresh and balanced picture. It finishes with some yeasty savoriness and a hint of lemon zest. Beautiful. Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. —A.K.
Domaine Jolly & Fils 2018 Fourchaume Premier Cru (Chablis); $54, 92 points. Subtle notions of freshly cut green Conference pear suggest both freshness and ripeness. The palate of this wine adds texture and ripe freshness that lend definition to the palate. Glimpses of chalkiness blend with pear flesh. The finish is mild but nonetheless mouthwatering. Taub Family Selections. —A.K.
Louis Michel et Fils 2018 Montée de Tonnerre Premier Cru (Chablis); $45, 92 points. A touch of reduction gives a welcome whiff of farmyard before pear juiciness takes over. That same generous, fresh fruitiness gets full rein on the palate of this wine. A midpalate texture of white citrus pith and chalk sets a counterpoint and lends structure. The finish is long and dry. Vineyard Brands. —A.K.
Domaine Gueguen 2018 Vosgros Premier Cru (Chablis); $40, 91 points. This wine has good potential. It already offers plenty of fruitiness, lime and apple flavors structured with minerality and a steely edge. All this will develop further to give an always fresh but also ripe wine from 2021. T. Elenteny Imports. —R.V.
Domaine Laroche 2018 Vau de Vey Premier Cru (Chablis); $55, 91 points. Aromatic hints of ripe greengage and Mirabelle are subtle on the nose of this wine. The palate adds a creamy languor to these fruity notions, endowing them with gentle, pithy texture and letting them flow in their generous ripeness, with more rich pear on the dry finish. Wilson Daniels Ltd. —A.K.