The Chablis vineyard
The Chablis vineyard is a unique terroir where a great diversity of expressions can be found. The vineyard alone covers nearly 5,400 hectares of vines in 20 communes, i.e. almost one fifth of Burgundy. It is the largest vineyard in the Yonne and has imposed on the world the image of a dry white wine with a strong personality.
The Chablis vineyard is carefully divided and the wines produced are divided into 4 Protected Designations of Origin: Chablis Grand Cru, Chablis Premier Cru, Chablis, Petit Chablis.
The Chablis vineyard is located in the north of Burgundy, a stone’s throw from the Champagne region, in a northern zone. The climate is often described as semi-continental, with long, harsh winters and hot summers, and is in fact quite difficult to classify.
The frost affects this vineyard at the beginning of spring. Spring frost is characteristic of the vineyard. The winegrowers have learned over time, and after significant losses in some years, to control these climatic accidents.
The Chablis vineyard is situated on sloping hillsides, facing south/south-east and south-west, all facing the Serein. The average altitude is 150 metres above sea level.
Portlandian soil type
This soil belongs to the upper Kimmeridgian layer. This soil is not very calcareous, marly and does not contain any fossils. It produces wines with a fruitier character and little minerality. Petit Chablis is most often found here, unlike the other appellations located on Kimmeridgian soils.
Kimmeridgian soil type
This soil belongs to the 2nd stratigraphic stage of the Upper Jurassic. This name comes from the name of a village in England called Kimmeridge where the soil has the same characteristics.
This soil has very compact layers of limestone and clayey marl containing an abundance of fossilised marine organisms, in this case tiny oysters (exogyra virgula). These marine sediments brought by the sea 150 million years ago give us the typicality of Chablis wines.
Located on marl below the Portlandian limestone, Chablis appears to be the only vineyard concerned by this type of soil.
In Chablis, only one grape variety is allowed: Chardonnay. This grape variety gives a subtlety and elegance that can be perceived at every tasting. Chablis wines are made from this single white grape variety, Chardonnay. Today, there are about 5400 hectares of Chardonnay planted in Chablis. The Chardonnays produced here are dry white wines that are defined by their high acidity, minerality and finesse.
The Beine lake and its system of protection against spring frosts contribute to protect part of the 53 hectares of vines of the Domaine de la Motte (notably the 1er Cru Beauroy and Vauligneau).
In 1978, close to the village, an artificial lake was created to fight against frosts with a system of sprinkling water on the vines. It is a valley crossed by a stream held back by a dyke which constitutes an artificial water reserve.
This so-called “sprinkler” pumping system is one of the largest in Europe. This artificial reservoir extends over 10 hectares along the road from Auxerre to Chablis and has a capacity of 450,000 m3. The water thus retained can be sent in a very short time through more than 40 km of piping and water nearly a hundred hectares of vines. The sprayed water will create a film of ice on the buds, keeping them at a temperature close to 0°C, which will protect the future grapes.