My First Chablis

And a bit of a disappointment at that. We took my younger brother, who was visiting us this past weekend, to the Melting Pot for dinner on Saturday. You’ll kind of see him mugging for the camera in the back of my picture. Our fondue for the night was sea-food heavy choice, with yummy lobster tails, so I decided to pick a white wine for the evening.

I chose a 1998 Regnard Chablis from France. It cost $40 and rang in at 12.5% alcohol by volume. I think this wine was past its prime. Or else I don’t know what to look for in a Chablis, also quite possible. The wine seemed tired, none of the flavors were very dominant and it was “blah” on the palate.

I found a bit of lemon and yeast on the nose. It smelled kind of like a very flat champagne. In the mouth there was some lemon and other vague citrus, with a bit of smoky vanilla. The flavors were reserved and the wine was dry. It was smooth and easy to drink, but overall, it just didn’t do too much for me.

6 Responses

  1. I have never had any luck with Chablis either. I, like you, should try a few. I am a taster that if I do not like the grape, I move on. Which actually should not be that way. I should just keep trying different vineyards or regions. Let me know if you come across a “winner”.

  2. I really like Chablis! Try Fevre…a great producer. $40 maybe for retail (don’t buy at a restaurant) will get you a great bottle. Give it another chance! Should have minerality, crispness, acidity, and stoniness to it. Fruit flavors are usually subdued, but citrus can be prominent.

  3. Definitely don’t give up on Chablis based on this experience, S. It sounds indeed like the wine was either past its prime or, more likely, had been mishandled. A suggestion I might make for ordering any wine, Chablis included, in restaurants: avoid older vintages unless you’re absolutely sure you’re in a place with a serious wine program and with proper storage and procurement practices.

  4. I think it’s tough ordering wine in a restaurant, especially if you haven’t been that restaurant before.

    Try researching one and trying it at home — that would be my suggestion if you want to try another Chablis.

  5. I have to agree with David on this one. At $40 in the restaurant you have to figure that the wine would be about $20 (or less) retail and so would not really be expected to be age-worthy at that price point.

    Also, and this is where your wine-geekyness shows through, you should file away the fact that there were oxidation issues in the late ’90s white Burgundies which led them to age prematurely. Many lay this at the feet of bad corks.

    But please do not be put off of Chablis. I am not a chard person at all, but they can be great with simply done white fish with lemon and are a classic pairing with oysters and the like. There should be good ’04s & ’05s on the market now and ’02 was a good vintage as well.

  6. And it’s also possible, as you said, that the wine was simply past its prime. 98 village level Chablis should probably be gone already. They don’t last as long as the 1er Cru or Grand Cru stuff. My favorite producer lately for drinking now is Picq – try the 2005 village level Chablis or for another $5, the vieille vignes. YUM.

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