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July | From the Archives: Petit Chablis

June 1983 Newsletter

by Kermit Lynch

July | From the Archives: Petit Chablis     - Kermit Lynch
July | From the Archives: Petit Chablis     - Kermit Lynch

In terms of quality, a well-vinified Petit Chablis is preferable to a poorly made Chablis. Don’t let the petit scare you away from this little lovely. The difference between Chablis and Petit Chablis in terms of geographical placement can be a matter of meters—the space between two rows of vines—and they are produced from the same grape.
     Petit is not necessarily a derogatory word in France. However, it does indeed announce that the wine is not a grand one—this Petit Chablis, for example, does not have the depth or aging potential, the magnificence of the Raveneau wines offered on the next page, nor does it have the price of the Raveneau wines. Nor is it intended to be served when a great bottle is required. It is a little wine, but little wines can be full of charm and deliciousness. Above all, they should be fun to drink.
     The small, rustic cave of Monsieur Lavantureux is outside the village of Chablis off the beaten path in Lignorelles where every house seems to boast a chien méchant and everyone stops and stares at a stranger’s car as it passes.
     His 1982 Petit Chablis is all Chardonnay with an impeccably fresh, pretty Chablis nose. It is bone-dry, of course, with a lively, supple character. It is a wine to drink now, this summer, and over the next two years. Aging will not improve it. You want it for its freshness, its nervosity and charm.
     If it were shipped to California under normal conditions, I could not recommend a little wine like this Petit Chablis—its delicate perfume and vitality would vanish in the heat of the passage through Panama. But shipped at a controlled temperature, you have the wine in perfect condition. Enjoy!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         —June 1983

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