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Chablis: Premiere or Grand Cru under $40

  • Dapuma Apr 23, 2011 12:48 PM
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I tried this and really liked it:

2007 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Permier Cru

So i am on the hunt for something similar to it preferablly under $40 per bottle

I cannot get anything decent (AZ) locally for chablis so i have to order it online so i am looking for some alternatives

Also i need to order Nolet's Gin (amazing) so if the place has that and some good chablis that will save on shipping costs

I have found a few places online that have the 2007, however those places do not have Nolet's and i am not opposed to branching out to try other types/brands of chablis so i am trying to figure out if i can combined everything into one order, or is what i tried very strong in the under 40 price range and i should make two seperate orders

thanks !

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  1. My first comment is "don't overlook 'regular' Chablis (Chablis a/c)." There are some great wines out there under the straight "a/c" . . .

    That said, while Grands Crus from Chablis may be difficult to find for less than $40, you can definitely find any number of Chablis 1er Cru available for well under $40. Look for offerings from Louis Michel, Jean-Paul Droin, Domaine Francine & Olivier Savary -- among many others. INdeed, you can find a number of 2009 William Fèvre Chablis 1er Crus available on pre-arrival for <$40.

    6 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      I don't know a ton about wine but I am learning - what are the differences between the names you have listed - is william fevre better?

      From my understanding the 1er's are better quality grapes than a/c and that is worth the step up - the grand cru is more expensive because those qare the best grapes?

      What would be a good regular one to look at?

      1. re: Dapuma

        In a sense, there are no "best grapes." On the other hand, it's all about "location, location, location . . . "

        There are four separate appellation contrôlée designations within the region of Chablis. From the "bottom" to the "top," they are:
        -- Petit Chablis
        -- Chablis (sometimes written as "Chablis a/c")
        -- Chablis Premier Cru (aka Chablis 1er Cru)
        -- Chablis Grand Cru

        It's all the same wine, in that it's all produced from Chardonnay, but there are significant differences (at least on paper) between them. There are seven specific vineyards Grands Crus (the eighth is unofficial, yet it exists nonetheless), and there are 40 Premiers Crus. these, obviously, are site specific; yields (HL/ha) and potential alcohols are restricted . . . well, they are in ALL appellations, but the levels are increasingly "tighter" as one moves up through the hierarchy of the four appellations.

        As with all Burgundy wines, the wine can come from a producer or from a négociant, and as with all winemakers everywhere, they all do the same thing, but they all do it a little bit differently. Stylistically, some producers may use new oak; others may use older oak; some may use no oak whatsoever. Some may employ sur lie aging and bâttonage, others may not. And so on and so on and so on . . . .

        William Fèvre is one of the outstanding names within Chablis, but there are many other great producers as well. I have always been partial to the wines of Pinson, Vocoret, Savary, Grossot, Perchaud, Servin, and more . . . .

        Raveneau is in a class by itself, but with prices to match.

        1. re: zin1953

          Pinson, Vocoret, Savary, Grossot, Perchaud, Servin . . . Do you recommend one over the others? I see that K&L is selling a 2008 Voceret for $21.99 and a 2008 Savary for $16.99. Artisan Wine Depot in Oakland is closing out the Corinne Perchaud Chablis 2008 for $21.99 (says $30 is the normal price). Wine Exchange in Orange -- one of my favorite retailers -- has the SERVIN 2008 MONTEE DE TONNERRE CHABLIS for $28.99 (the SERVIN 2008 BLANCHOTS CHABLIS is more at $54.99).

          I see what you mean about Raveneau -- Wine Exchange has the RAVENEAU 2004 CHAPELOT CHABLIS for $89.99. Or is it that the 2004 is a better vintage?

          So little time and money, so much Chablis. Would like to pick up some for summer.

          It's hard to know what to buy. For instance, is the Raveneau that much better than the Servins?

          1. re: omotosando

            1) Don't overthink this.
            2) Crawl before you walk; walk before you run; run before you drive; drive before you race.
            3) We each have our OWN taste buds in our mouths, not someone else's.

            In other words . . .

            There are literally dozens and dozens of different labels out there -- try them! Don't get caught up in "analysis paralysis" and spend time thinking about what you should get.

            Personally speaking, I am a firm believer in not spending more than one's budget permits, no matter how tempting. In other words, you started out looking for Chablis Premiers Crus or Grands Crus that were available for less than $40 -- stick with that! Raveneau can wait, and it's very different than your "typical" Chablis.

            As I said above, every winemaker does the same thing, but they are do it slightly differently. There is NO one "best" wine out there. The best is what tastes best to YOU, what you enjoy the most -- not what I, or Robert, or Jancis or Clive or Michael enjoys the most. Try several different wines and discover the style(s) and producer(s) that you enjoy . . . .

          2. re: zin1953

            zin's list is excellent and I always heed his advice. Another producer I'd add to the list to consider is La Chablisienne. They consistently make a fairly good Chablis at that price point.

          3. re: Dapuma

            there is a fair amount of good chablis available in az. most retailers in az don't know s@*t about wine, especially imports, but they can get them for you. what you need to know is who the importer is so they can go to the correct wholesale distributor. usually the domaine will have a website that will name their importer or importers. google the wine and you should be able to find the importer's website - maybe on the second page. once you know the importer or better yet the az wholesaler you can have your retailer see what they can get. the wholesaler can even tell you which retailer carry the wine so that you will know where to go.

            fevre wines are good if a bit oaky (traditionally chablis has used little or no oak until recently) and i prefer no discernible oak. alliance bev dist in az

            i sold a lot of olivier savary when i had backstreet. excellent quality and very reasonably priced. personally i liked his village chablis better than drouhin's 1er crus and grand crus. imported by kermit lynch. kl's distributors have been in a state of flux in az but last i knew valley of the sun had savary.

            domaine laroche makes wonderful wines albeit with a touch of oak. all screw caps up to and including grand crus - a very thing IMO. last i knew republic was wholesaler.

            north berkeley imports frederic magnien's negociant wines and they can be very good. was at quail dist in az.

            louis michel is at southern i think. no oak if i recall correctly.

        2. You might want to look for Chablis from Gilbert Picq--even at the basic Chablis level, the wines have a lot to say, and the prices are reasonable. Polaner is the importer.

          1. Although I'm a HUGE Chablis fan, Douhin's are not near the top of my list. imho, they do better on the Cote d'Or.

            As for "Premier Cru," there are quite a number of Premiers Cru, and each of them is different, not only from each other, but from producer to producer.

            In the price range you mention, I'd look for Savary, Brocard, Christian Moreau, Pascal Bouchard.

            My personal favorite Premier Cru Chablis is Les Fourchaumes, which is one of the pricier, but you can find in under $40. However, Petit Chablis is also tasty, and a lot lower in price. I also prefer low to no oak in Chablis. The flinty freshness is the hallmark of this Chardonnay.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

              Just to be clear . . .

              >>> Although I'm a HUGE Chablis fan, Douhin's are not near the top of my list. imho, they do better on the Cote d'Or. <<<

              Are you referring to the Burgundy négociant Joseph DROUHIN (I think you were, but left out the "R"), or are you referring to Jean-Paul Droin, who doesn't make wines in the Côte d'Or? In the case of the former, I would agree that their offerings of Chablis are rarely anything to get too excited about.

              1. re: zin1953

                That's a typo. I meant Drouhin. I don't know Droin's Chablis'.

              2. re: ChefJune

                there is a savary regular for around 20 or 30 i believe and there is a les clos grand cru for 38 (that seems cheap is les clos not a good grand cru?) 2006 Domaine Simonnet-Febvre Chablis Grand Cru 'Les Clos' - why is this so cheap?

                i saw some les fourchaumes under 40 so that could work as well - seems like there are a few 07's or 06's - mostly 08's and some pre-order 09's - are the 09's "ready to drink" or do they need to be held for a couple years?

                1. re: Dapuma

                  actually les clos is generally considered to the the best of the grand crus. many producers source fruit from les clos and there are significant differences among producers abilities. vintages vary also.

                  like i said above, i'll take a savary village chablis over a Drouhin grand cru any day. only way to know what suits you is to try as much as your wallet and liver can handle.

              3. Zin's list of Chablis producers is excellent.

                I would just add Daniel Dampt and Vincent Dauvissat. And yes, Raveneau is totally in a class of its own. Much like Krug and champagne, there's Raveneau, and then everything else.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mengathon

                  raveneau makes excellent wines most of the time but they are so atypical that i do not think of them as chablis. it just so happens that the grapes come from that appellation.

                  1. re: mengathon

                    I agree, Mengathon. And I can rarely afford Raveneau. Not cheap, but my favorite producer, is actually Domaine Laroche. And I like his Fourchaumes better than many producers' grand crus.

                  2. ok so for an initial sampling i am going to go with (from k and l)

                    2008 Domaine Francine & Olivier Savary Chablis 16.99

                    2009 Maison William Fevre Chablis "Champs Royaux" 18.99

                    2009 Domaine Francine & Olivier Savary Chablis 1er Cru "Fourcahume" 29.99

                    2008 Domaine Vocoret Chablis 21.99

                    and then i have enough budget to get 1-3 more bottles to try - still need to keep it under 40

                    i was thinking maybe one of the william fevre pre order's but if i have to cellar it awhile not sure if i want to go that route - any other suggestions or will those bottles be ready to drink so not to worry

                    if one of the pre orders is a good idea, which one should i get to try there are quite a few 1er cru's that are under 40 for the pre arrivals

                    is there another less expensive "village" chablis i missed that i should add to the order

                    Thanks for all the help so far - my liver is excited or is that my palate :)

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: Dapuma

                      in that group the fevre is way out of its league. champs royaux is a special cuvee "made for american tastes"

                      on the other hand, fevre's les clos can be superb.

                      1. re: Dapuma

                        If you can get Domaine Laroche's St. Martin, I'd recommend that. It should be in the $20-$22 range.

                        And btw, 2008 is being touted by the Chablisiennes as a banner year, a "keeper," if you will. so some others may not measure up to that vintage. otoh, maybe not.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          laroche st martin is much better than champs royeaux and it is available in az.

                          1. re: jock

                            ok i am going to take out the william fevre champs then

                            the domaine laroche st martin does not look to be avaliable through k and l - for this particular order i need to go online, not local because Nolet's doesnt have an AZ distributer - and i only have tried one type of chablis at the moment so i do not have a wide range to say i like this recommend this etc

                            i do like: Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina - which isnt chablis but is another white i really liked

                            so for k and l there isnt really anything to add to the list,

                            maybe add this:

                            2008 Domaine Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis 20.99
                            or
                            2008 Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillons" 24.99
                            or
                            2009 Château de Maligny Chablis 1er Cru "Montee de Tonnerre" 26.99

                            Would any of those 3 be worth adding or just go with the inital order then go local?

                            Other thought I had was getting a pre-arrival of the '09 william fevre - but if I have to wait a year or two to drink it i would rather not

                            1. re: Dapuma

                              For what it's worth, it looks like a lot of producers who have so-so wines most years are making nice Chablis in 2008. A rising tide lifts all boats, I guess. So if you have nothing better to guide you, sticking with the 2008 vintage seems to be a safer bet.

                              1. re: Dapuma

                                I would add Patrick Piuze to the list of producers to seek out. Only a few vintages so far but they're already among the best Chablis made.

                                1. re: Dapuma

                                  For me the producer is as important (maybe more) as the vineyard. None of those you mentioned particularly float my boat, but I'm pretty fussy when it comes to Chablis -- my favorite expression of the chardonnay grape.

                                  As has been mentioned in this thread, 2008 is a particularly good year for Chablis, so most 2008's are a safe bet.

                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    i found some 2008 droin and pinson on sale @ jj buckley - they all seem like premier cru's for 23-30

                                    is there a best two or three on there

                                    oh i found another place that has nolets for cheaper :) beltramos

                                    they have:
                                    08 moreau 21.99
                                    08 pinson mont de milieu 32.99
                                    08 picq vaucoupin 34.99
                                    08 picq vosgros 29.99

                                    the page says the vosgros is drink 2015 - so is that a sitter? Looking for stuff to try now?

                                    i am assuming the ones with names are 1er because they arent just the producer and a year? there are no pictures so hard to tell

                                    thx - so many options brain melting time for sleep

                                    trying to maximize the shipping and get a good variety of village chablis to figure out what direction i want to go seems impossible in one order

                                    1. re: Dapuma

                                      Which Moreau? Christian? If so, very good, very well made wines.

                                      yes, the others are all Premier Crus. there are 79 potential Premiers Crus.

                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        yes that is a christian moreau - sorry didnt realize there were other moreau's

                                        1. re: Dapuma

                                          Those are good wines, and good value wines... and true to terroir wines. I recommend.

                                  2. re: Dapuma

                                    Bernard Defaix's 'Cote de Lechet' is really good too! I'd also second the Dampt et Fils recommendation.

                            2. I'm a fan of De Moor's Bel Air bottling. Not a 1er or Grand Cru, though.

                              1. A year, or so ago, I would have pointed you to Jock (up-thread), but now, I will point you to Tom Hamilton at Phoenix Wines, on 71st Place, just north of Shea.

                                Tell him, or any of his people, what you like, and ask what they have. Try that, and then report back, with your comments. PHX Wines can get quite a bit, and if they know that you wish to go in a different direction, chances are good, that if it's distributed in AZ, they can get it.

                                Enjoy and do not hesitate to talk to the staff, with your likes and dislikes. As Jason says, though in the same AC and with the same grapes, there ARE differences, and you might like one winemaker's vision, better than another.

                                Cannot tell you how much Phoenix misses Jock's shop and restaurant. Still, Tom will take care of you.

                                Enjoy,

                                Hunt

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  <Enjoy and do not hesitate to talk to the staff, with your likes and dislikes. As Jason says, though in the same AC and with the same grapes, there ARE differences, and you might like one winemaker's vision, better than another.>

                                  I can't emphasize what Hunt said enough. Way back when I first got into wine, the GM of my neighborhood wine shop went out of his way to show me wines he thought I would like based on our ongoing conversations. The impact that had on my wine education (not to mention my enthusiasm for wine) has lasted a lifetime. A good wine merchant is worth his/her weight in gold.

                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    "A good wine merchant is worth his/her weight in gold."

                                    Could not have said it better. Same goes for a top-notch (not from awards, but from spirit and mind-set) sommelier. Even for winos, such as we, they should know more, especially related to their inventory. There is trust involved, but that can be so greatly rewarded.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      I went in and talked to Tom yesterday - he was very informative and i got a a 2005 louis michel chablis and also the fanghalia italian white wine i had had before, but this one is from a different maker than i tried previously and then a bottle of red that he thought i would like based on other things that i like

                                      Also ended up getting from K and L

                                      2008 Domaine Francine & Olivier Savary Chablis x2
                                      2009 Domaine Francine & Olivier Savary Chablis 1er Cru "Fourcahume" x1
                                      2008 Domaine Vocoret Chablis x1

                                      wanted to tasted the premier cru vs the aoc against each other to see if i can tell a difference