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     he vineyard

The INAO differentiates between four Appellations Controlée areas in this district: :
  • Le "Petit Chablis" generally harvested on the plateau lands, with a production ceiling of 60 hl/ha.
  • Le "Chablis", from the slopes exposed to the North and East, and on the plateaux ; here production is set at 60 hl/ha.
  • Les "Chablis Premier Cru" from the slopes exposed to the South and West. These are separated into 79 “climats”, or individual vineyards, of which 25 should be remembered ; the main ones are : ‘Mont-de-Milieu’, ‘Montée-de-Tonnerre’, ‘Fourchaume’ , ‘Vaillons’, ‘Montmains’, ‘Vaucoupins’, ‘Côte de Léchet’, etc... production is limited to 58 hl/ha.
  • Les "Chablis Grand Cru" which are harvested solely at Chablis and Fyé, on the slopes of the right bank of the Serein, in front of the town : seven “climats”, or individual vineyards, belong to this appellation: ‘Blanchot’, ‘Bougros’, ‘les Clos’, Grenouilles’, ‘Preuses’, ‘Valmur’ and ‘Vaudésirs’. In quality they constitute the summit of the pyramid ; production is limited to 54 hl/ha.

The delimited areas of the four AOC are :

  • Chablis Grand-Cru         103ha
  • Chablis Premiers-Cru     745ha
  • Chablis                         4420ha
  • Petit-Chablis                 1562ha
  • Total                            6830ha
4308 ha are planted ; there are the refore still about 1000 ha in "Petit-Chablis" and 1500 ha in "Chablis" available for exploitation.
The vineyard of Chablis
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     he history of Chablis

With all its bad times and good times, the history of Chablis looks rather like that of France as a whole. In the curent state of knowledge of archaeology, it is certain that there were Gallo-Roman rural settlements where the Vaucharmes brook runs into the Serein. But the first written records that mention Chablis go back to the year 867, when King Charles the Bald, grandson of Charlemagne, presented the gift of “‘cellam Capleiam’ (the monastery of Chablis), its churches, its houses, its vineyards, and the serfs of both sexes inhabiting therein to the canons of Tours” who had fled from the Normans, and had taken refuge in the Abbey of Saint German d’Auxerre since 854. The monks took up residence, planted their vines, and made good use of those that were already there.

Right from the Middle Ages, wine was being exported from Chablis to England, via Rouen, and to Picardy and Flanders via Compiègne. In 1455 the records of the “Compagnies Françaises” reveal the transport of 67 bar rels of Chablis wine purchased by a “merchant of Maubeuge or from the country of Hainault”. The wine from Chablis had already made a name for itself. From then on, the village of Chablis grew, in the “upper town” with its Church of Saint Pierre, the Hôtel-Dieu (hospital), the Priory of Saint-Cosme, and in the “lower town” around the collegiate church of Saint-Martin. It was the One Hundred Years’ War which explains why, at the beginning of the 15th Century, the ramparts of the “lower town” were raised, equipped with their 29 towers, their 3 gates, and 3 posterns, known as “Saint-Laurent”, “Au Maître”, and “Chenneton”.

In 1478 Peter the Red obtained the Royal Privilege to establish the fifth printing shop in France here in Chablis. 1568 : Black February in Chablis: The Wars of Religion set the town ablaze, and Chablis was plundered by the Huguenots, but the “lower town” escaped the fire which had already ravaged the district of Saint-Pierre (the “upper town”) by paying a ransom. It was a long while before Chablis got to its feet again. Unfortunately, all the vines were destroyed by phylloxera in the 19th Century ; and the 1914 to 1918 Great War bled the country dry. However, after several decades of unremitting toil, the vineyards flourished once more.

During the course of the second World War, the bombardment of 15 June 1940 destroyed the historic centre of Chablis. 1949 marked the renaissance of the town and its vineyards : its wines could once again embark on the routes which had led them to the tables of the entire world.

It was above all from the ’60s, thanks to the use of means to protect them against springtime frosts, that the vineyards saw the expansion which launched them on the path to today’s renown.

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