Back to Basics: Chablis
By Evan Williams
I recently got to thinking: we taste, buy, and drink so much wine every year that the essential examples from some of our most beloved cornerstones of certain styles and regions can go overlooked. In search of the next big thing, the new fun backstory, the latest bandwagon, we can lose sight of the bottles that best represent that style or place or grape.
So, I'm getting back to basics: I've gone in search of the best, most essential, or quintessential, bottles from our favorite regions and varietals - the best wines not just for the money, but for transferring the essence of the place/grape to your glass. These aren't high-end bottlings, nor are the entry-level bargain basement wines; they are just (in our view) the best representation of the grapes and places that we love.
The wine that kind of started this whole back to basics thing is what I'm writing about today: the Les Allées du Vignoble Chablis. Of course, the "quintessential" example of any region or style is subjective (isn't all of this?!), but I will happily pit this wine against plenty of Chablis, in a blind tasting, that are $10 more than its meagre price tag.
Chablis is just one of those places where, when a wine gets it, it gets it. It's easy to just miss the mark and have the wine be a weird flop - too watery, too acidic, too flabby, too oaky, etc. - so when you find a pristine example for a great price, well, that's your new best friend. The Les Allées is that wine. It's brand new to Virginia, and it checks all the boxes:
☑ Bright acidity
☑ Substantive body
☑ Luscious fruit
☑ Seashells and wet stones
☑ Exquisite balance
☑ Refreshing finish
☑ Reasonable price tag
That's the Les Allées in a nutshell, and it'll scratch that pesky Chard/Chablis itch any day of the week. I've actually been looking for a wine like this for awhile, as a lot of my cellar's Chablis is still a little young; this is a 2017, and is drinking like a champ right now. The pear and lychee fruit, the seashells and white flowers, it's all a nice heady experience that can pair perfectly with anything from ceviche to summer endive salads to rich buttery whitefish dishes.
Quintessential Chablis, for a reasonable price? I need more wines like this; so do you. Stay tuned for more...