That white wine in a jug from California, labeled Chablis, is anything but Chablis.
Chablis has long suffered from bad white wines from regions outside Burgundy calling their Chardonnay the French classic. Arguably, Chablis is the world’s greatest white wine. Chablis is Chardonnay, but not all Chardonnay is Chablis.
Now that’s not wine geek double-talk. It only takes one taste of French Chablis to realize Chardonnay can be so much more than the big buttery, oak-infused wines coming from many wine regions. And those wine lovers who like oaked Chardonnay have to admit Chablis is something totally different.
Chablis is about two hours southeast of Paris in the northernmost region of Burgundy.
Winemakers grow Chardonnay almost exclusively. Chablis sets in a small valley with steep hills on each side covered with vineyard. There are four main appellations of Chablis: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru and Grand Cru. The Petit Chablis and Chablis represent the largest plantings and also the wines that are least expensive. These wines can be found in any decent wine shop at $15 to $25. The quality is superb at that price point.
The hillsides have plenty of limestone beneath the soils. A walk through the vineyard illustrates the wine’s minerality by the amount of rock scattered across the vineyard floor.
The truly great Chablis wines are the Premier and Grand Cru wines. There are approximately 2,000 acres of Premier Cru vineyard and a mere 250 acres of Grand Cru grapes.
Chablis at the lower price point is often, though not always, fermented and aged without oak. The Premier and Grand Cru wines often are aged partially with oak and stainless steel.
Many wine drinkers think of white wine as a consumable product different from big reds. The great Chablis wines only improve with age and offer complexity and a soft richness on the palate only aging can deliver.
Chablis is a region of rich tradition, pride and stubborn adherence to its heritage. A new generation of Chablis winemakers are experimenting with technology, wine-making techniques and embracing the marketing of their unique region.
But to understand the French passion for wine there is nothing better than a visit with one of the region’s biggest names. Bernard Billaud of Billaud-Simon is an icon. Visiting with him in October was an unforgettable experience.
“Chablis wine is about minerality and acidity,” he said, raising his voice, when asked a second or third time about the increasing use of oak. “If it’s not about minerality, you’re just making Chardonnay.”
While the comment by itself is not terribly profound, you had to hear the derision and the way he strung out the word C-h-a-r-d-on-n-a-y to know he is a man of passion.
“The more minerally the soil, the more iodine it has and then the more it needs wood,” Billaud said. He added that oak will neutralizes the iodine taste. “Chablis wines are acidic wines and a dry white wine from a singular vineyard.”
What is so wonderful about Chablis? It’s the apple, pear and dry mineral taste that goes so perfectly with food — particularly seafood or poultry.
Howard’s Picks: Billaud-Simon, William Ferve, Domaine Séguinot-Bordet, Jean Marc Brocard, Pascal Bouchard, Domaine des Marronniers and Alain Geoffroy. There are plenty of other labels to try but these were some of my favorites during an October 2012 visit.
Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, IN., writes every other week about wine for 22 Midwestern newspapers. Read his wine blog at its new home: www.howardhewitt.net.
That white wine in a jug from California, labeled Chablis, is anything but Chablis.
- Valley Life
Longtime weatherman Jesse Walker relates well to people of Wabash Valley
While in middle and high school, Jesse Walker developed a strong interest in the weather. He thought about a career at the National Weather Service or at a storm prediction center, but the idea of becoming a television meteorologist never entered his mind.
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: Keep your garden — and yourself — safe from lead
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead poisoning is the No. 1 preventable environmental cause of illness in children.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: Need something for the kids? Try these Ritzy Cookies
When we have dinners at the church, one of the ladies brings these cookies. Nancy Kahl has been making these for some time now. They are so good. Need something for your kids? Make sure that there isn’t any one who can’t have peanuts. These are so easy and extra good.
DNR stocks ponds in Terre Haute with catfish
Fishing opportunities in eight Indiana cities got a boost on Monday as part of an ongoing effort by the Department of Natural Resources to promote angling in urban areas.
Katherine Trueblood to celebrate 90th birthday
A card shower is planned to honor Katherine Campbell Trueblood on her 90th birthday.
State Park Road Rally coming up June 9-11
Participants will pilot their own vehicles, as their navigator steers them to points of interest and natural wonders during the State Park Road Rally June 9-11, with overnight stays at Canyon Inn in McCormick’s Creek State Park.
CANDLES plans film night
CANDLES Holocaust Museum will host a film night at 7 p.m. on Thursday, featuring the documentary “Porraimos: Europe’s Gypsies in the Holocaust” and its director Alexandra Isles, at the museum.
“Porraimos” premiered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2002.
Author to lead interpretive writing workshop
An interpretive writing workshop led by Alan Leftridge, Ph.D., author of the textbook “Interpretive Writing,” will be offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 12 at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.
WEDDING: Published May 19, 2013
Ruth Brown and Josh Edwards were married at 2:30 p.m. on May 11, 2013, in West Terre Haute by the Rev. Paul Shelton.
Fraud and Scam Awareness Seminar is Tuesday
The Investor Protection Trust estimated that more than 7.3 million seniors (about 20 percent of all Americans 65 and older) have been victimized by a scam. Met Life Inc. estimated the annual loss by victims of elderly scams at $2.9 billion dollars.
FAMILY TIES: While searching for my grandfather, I found my mother
I remember the afternoon my mother received the chilling news from her nephew that her oldest sister and brother-in-law had been killed in a car/bus collision.
GRAPE SENSE: Same old whites getting you down? Try something different
If the same old Chardonnay, Riesling or Pinot Grigio is getting you down, try something different.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A Rhubarb Nut Bread for the season
Last fall we went to the Covered Bridge Festival. Gene loves to go. Anyway, I got to talking to this lady, Treva Smith, at Bridgeton.
ENGAGEMENT: Published May 12, 2013
Friends of Library plans annual book sale
The Friends of the Vigo County Public Library is planning its annual book sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. May 19 in the Main Library Lower Level Meeting Rooms A, B, C and D.
Woman’s Press Club celebrates 100 years
On Feb. 18, 1913, a group of 13 female journalists and activists met for lunch at the Tea Room in L. S. Ayres Department Store in downtown Indianapolis to found the Woman’s Press Club of Indianapolis.
Children’s Museum to host orientation for summer volunteers
Those who are looking for a way to give back to the community and have fun at the same time are invited to attend a volunteer orientation session at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Walk for greyhound rescue
A family pet walk fundraiser open to all breeds is set for at 2 p.m. May 19 at Buggs Temple on the Canal Walk in Indianapolis.
‘Food Safety: From Garden Gates to Dinner Plates’ workshop coming up in June
There is a new law on the books in Illinois called the Cottage Food Operation Act of 2011. This new law allows for the preparation and sale of certain low-risk foods in the private home without the expense of a commercially certified kitchen and for the sale of said foods at a farmers market.
Scams are brown bag focus
The Vigo County Public Library’s next brown bag event, “Don’t Be a Victim!” featuring Amy Wardlow, is set for 12:10 p.m. Thursday at the main branch.
Countryside, Kalorama gardens celebrating opening weekend
Countryside Gardens, owned by Terry and Jennie O’Rourke, and Kalorama Gardens, owned by Steve and Linda Gard, opened for the season this weekend. Both gardens are in Marshall, Ill. Opening days continue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
Saturday seminar to bring nationally known genealogists to Ivy Tech
The Wabash Valley Genealogy Society is offering the public a unique opportunity to learn more about the new techniques and methods now available for individuals interested in doing genealogical research on the Internet.
Evening Thyme Garden Club to host garden fair at Clark County Fairgrounds
The Evening Thyme Garden Club will present the 15th annual garden fair from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday at Clark County Fairgrounds in Marshall, Ill., with free parking and admission.
Student mentoring program offers one-on-one technology instruction
The Connecting Generations Mentoring Program can help those who would like one-on-one instruction on how to use the Internet or other technology.
CULINARY COURSES: Clabber Girl Classroom Kitchen provides variety of cooking courses for the Valley
There are a few taste-bud-tantalizing-perks for having America’s leading baking powder producer in your backyard. For nearly 120 years, Clabber Girl has been a staple in Terre Haute. In 1899, Hulman and Company began offering up what was to become one of the oldest brands in the country, Clabber baking powder. In 1923, the company changed the baking powder brand name to Clabber Girl.
CHRIS DAVIES: Keep sodium levels in mind when sweating buckets
Salt, or sodium, is vital to life. Too much or too little sodium can cause all kinds of problems in your body. How much sodium do we need if we are exercising consistently?
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: Union Hospital creates community garden
Union Hospital will be opening a community garden on its campus in mid-May. Before they embarked on such a challenge, they looked to their neighbor Indiana State University for advice.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: Try this when you’ve got to avoid salt
I have a good friend in an assisted living complex. She went to her doctor last winter and he told her she had to leave off the salt. My mother used this when dad couldn’t have any salt.
I like to keep this on hand. In summer when it’s real hot I keep in refrigerator. Keep in an air tight container.
NEWSMAKER: May 5, 2013
Carolyn Whitcomb Jeffries was installed as president of the State Huguenot Society of Indiana on April 21 at Meridian Hills Country Club of Indianapolis.
ANNIVERSARY: Published May 5, 2013
Mr. and Mrs. Larry Abel
Larry and Rose Abel will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.
The couple will have a reception in June.
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- Longtime weatherman Jesse Walker relates well to people of Wabash Valley