Although (only?!) 71 percent of Earth’s surface is now water, once upon a time the globe was completely covered with vast oceans, a waterworld teeming with minute calcareous marine life. As the seas receded, mountains emerged, exposing the sedimentary layers of their finely ground and compressed shells, creating what we now call limestone, a ridge of which runs through many of France’s great wine-growing regions, from the Loire to Champagne and finally Burgundy, but most abundantly in Chablis. Limestone is so important to the character of Chablis that the region’s different levels of classification are mainly determined by which type of limestone runs through its various slopes and valleys. Petit Chablis is situated at the top of the hills on Portlandian limestone, while Chablis grows in Kimmeridgian limestone (characterized by many more fossilized shells), with premier cru vineyards oriented southeast and grands crus on the most ideal steep, south-facing slopes. It’s as if the fossil-laden chalky soil running through Chablis has helped create a wine that is a visceral reminder of our amphibian past, with its bracing smell of waterfalls and oncoming rain, wet stone and coastal citrus groves. Briny, crisp, chiseled, and mouthwatering, it refreshes and invigorates. We can thank all those marine fellas for giving their lives (and honor them by eating more of their descendants) by raising a glass in oceanic salute.
Consider this collection your golden ticket of sorts, your invitation to a dinner party with a group of underground artisans, champions of outsider winemaking culture, and a snapshot of a south of France that may be less iconic, but no less authentic.
So what do you call a collection of delicious, well-made wines that offer serious bang for your buck? A surfeit of tastiness, a scad of enjoyment, an ambrosia of libations? I like a plethora of values.
While some of the world’s greatest and grandest reds hail from northern Italy, this territory—which actually consists of eight Italian regions—is perhaps even more noteworthy for its tremendous diversity of everyday rosso.
Many of our best values, all in one place for your browsing pleasure: bargain whites, rosés, reds, and even a couple of sparklers, made by real people and reefer-shipped so they arrive in your hands in nothing less than perfect condition.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa