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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Burgundy is undoubtedly the home of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnays in the world, where vineyards, or Domaines have been producing wines for over 2000 years. Burgundy is located in the North-east of France, an hours drive from Lyon and 2 hours from Paris. With over 100 appellations, or sub-regions (more than any other wine region) Burgundy is known for being the most terroir-oriented region in the World. The finest red wines of Burgundy are found in the Côte d'Or, a string of villages including Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey St Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St Georges.
There are flavours present in great Burgundys that are the envy of Pinot Noir producers worldwide. The elusive peacocks tail finish that goes on and on, and the pretty-elegance backed by Burgundy muscle is the goal of winemakers around the globe. The main levels in the Burgundy classifications, in descending order of quality, are: Grand crus, Premier crus, village appellations, and finally regional appellations. For the Chablis wines, a similar hierarchy of Grand Cru, Premier Cru and Village wines is used, plus Petit Chablis as a level below Village Chablis.
Located in the northern region of Burgundy in France, only a two-hour drive southeast of Paris, Chablis is a wine region covering an area of approximately 2,225 hectares.
Like most of France’s oldest wine regions, the Romans were the first to have planted grapevines in Chablis and during the middle ages, the Catholic Church too played a big role in building commercial interest in wines from the area. It is believed that Chardonnay was first planted in the 12th century and spread throughout the rest of Burgundy from there. Chablis was annexed as a part of Burgundy by the Dukes of Burgundy in the 15th century.
The famous grapevines of Chablis are mostly made up of chardonnay and because of the cool climate of the area, the wines produced here are usually more acidic and less fruity than those made in warmer climates. The result gives the flinty, dry white wines aromas comprising of nuts, vanilla, butter, lemon, and pear. Unlike most of the other Burgundian white wines which are fermented in a barrel, Chablis winemakers rarely use this method of fermentation in order to keep the oaky flavours at bay. The Chablis vineyards are classified into 4 tiers of quality listed from high to low: Chablis Grand Cru, Chablis Premier Cru, Chablis and finally Petit Chablis. The wines of Chablis generally see less oak than their Burgundian counterparts and in many cases are fermented in stainless steel.
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About the brand William Fevre
Domaine William Fevre is without doubt one of the greatest Domaines in Chablis. It was founded by William Fevre back in 1957 includes 12 hectares of premier cru and 16 hectares of grand Cru vines.
From vine to bottle, the Domaine ensures the highest quality by hand-harvesting (a rare thing in Chblis) and rigorously sort the fruit again in the winery. Recently, the amount of new oak has been honed back, such that the average age of oak barrels is now 6 years old.
By practicing sustainable growing in its vineyards for almost a decade, Domaine William Fevre has recently (Feb, 2015) obtained "High Environmental Value" (HVE) status, which is the highest level of environmental certification. The wines are all of the highest order, from the modestly priced Petit Chablis to the Six Grand Cru wines. Consistently the the quality is superb, making William Fevre a benchmark producer in the region.