Chablis Premier Cru
Premier Cru wines are second best in Chablis they offer remarkable quality at a more interesting price than the Grand Cru wines.They are based on Chardonnay grapes. Premier Cru wines in Chablis are produced in 79 named vineyards which are grouped into 40 well-known Premier Cru vineyards which are grouped into 17 climates. Chablis Premier Cru vineyards present a wide array of choice each vineyard has a different terroir which provides the wines coming from different vineyards with unique characteristics. They are located to the right and to the left bank of the Serein River and are planted on well drained Kimmeridgian soil composed of clay, limestone and fossilized oyster shells from billions of years ago. They are located on slopes with south and west sun exposition.
The Premier Cru Chablis wines are medium-bodied and well balanced. Their aging potential can reach up to 10 years. Depending on the winemaker aging in oak barrels can be used to increase their aging potential. Winemakers are keen to preserve the Chablis character and therefore they use oak aging very carefully. It is interesting to list the top Premier Cru vineyards in Chablis.
On the right bank of the Serein River we can find very interesting Premier Cru Vineyards just beside Chablis Grand Crus:
Fourchaume 132 ha. of vineyard located just west of the Grand Cru valley. Fourchaume is the largest and most famous Premier Cru in Chablis. In certain vintages it can even challenge the Grand Crus. The style varies greatly mainly depending on the winemakers decision to use oak. There are over 30 different wine producers in Fourchaume. There are several well recognized vineyards under Fourchaume like: Vaulorent, L’Homme Mort, Côte de Fontenay and Vaupulent.
Montée de Tonnerre is located just beside Les Blanchots Grand Cru and it is even considered an extension of it. This remarks the importance of this Premier Cru which offers wines with firm minerality and elegance that can challenge Grand Cru wines. Montée de Tonerre includes some important vineyards like Chapelot, Pied d’Aloue and Côte de Bréchain.
Mont de Milieu is located just beside Montée de Tonerre on the same hill as the Grand Crus. Mont de Milieu offers outstanding Premier Cru wines.
Vaucoupin is located on a very steep slope with south and west exposition. Vaucoupin Premier Cru wines are characterized by their elegance and aging potential.
Although it will be logical to assume that the best Premier Cru wines come from those vineyards beside the Grand Cru vineyards the left bank is as impressive showing high quality and unique Premier Cru wines. The Premier Cru vineyards on the left bank are located just south of Chablis. Here are some of the most interesting ones:
Vosgros 15 ha. vineyard located just outside the village of Clichée with a south and west exposition. Vosgros Premier Cru wines are characterized by their structure and elegance.
Vaillons is very famous and very important for the quality it offers. The wines produced in Vaillons are characterized by impressive structure and firm minerality. There are several very well-known vineyards within Vaillons like: Les Lys, Mélinots, Beugnons, Les Épinottes, Roncières, Châtains and Séchets.
Côte de Lechet enjoys a south exposition and cool wind. Côte de Lechet wines are characterized by their freshness, fine structure and firm acidity.
Montmains is located facing the Chablis Grand Cru vineyards just beside Vaillons Premier Cru. Montmains is a very famous. It includes some very well-known vineyards like Butteaux and Fôrets. The wines from Montmains are characterized by their lively acidity and richness.