- 2021 Sainte Celine Chablis, Burgundy, France ($15.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)
Many American wine drinkers first became familar with the name Chablis back when California winemakers were running amok bottling cheap jug wines with the Chablis name on the label. Which is unfortunate. Because it confused generations in the process. Maybe that is all behind us now…
In the modern wine trade, Chablis is a sought after wine which is rarely seen for under $30. So we were especially keen to kick the tires on this TJ’s wine find.
Chablis is made from Chardonnay grapes. But unlike the oaky-buttery (sometimes even cloying) California Chardonnay you may be thinking of, this is its opposite. The cooler-climate of this Burgundy region of France gives the wine more acidity, which gives the wine structure. Chablis often have a “flinty” note, described by the French as “goût de pierre à fusil” (“tasting of gunflint”) and sometimes as “steely”.
The Chablis Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) requires the sole use of Chardonnay grapes. This particular bottle is also “unoaked” which means the wine won’t have any vanilla or toast flavors that come from aging the wine in oak barrels. So even before I poured the wine, I had a pretty good idea how it should taste. And it did not disappoint.
Pours a straw yellow color in the glass. Notes of pear, apple and a tropical fruit salad on the nose. The palate is a melange of apples, pears and the aforementioned steely notes commonly found in wines from this area. The finish is tart, with a long fade of mineral and citrus. Nicely balanced and refreshing. It would pair well with cold shellfish, white fish and pastas in clam/cream sauces. It would also be perfect with potato chips and popcorn. After all, we did call this a weekday wine in the photo caption above!
This is a Chardonnay that could please even those (like my wife) who fall into the ABC (anything but Chardonnay!) Camp. Simply put, this is a wine that can satisfy those who profess preferences for the likes of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Chablis is situated roughly halfway between the Côte d’Or and Paris. Of France’s wine-growing areas. Only Champagne, Lorraine and Alsace have a more northerly location. While you are thanking Trader Joe’s, thank latitude as well.
More Wine Picks from Trader Joe’s – or Costco?
If your search for this wine lands you in Trader Joe’s, take along our handy Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.
And if your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.