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Discover Burgundy. Chablis and the purity of its' limestone terroir

Salty, crystalline, floral, citrus and limestone-mineral ... undoubtedly it's Chablis. But having Chardonnay is way not enough for achieving a wine of this style. It's all about the terroir, or more specifically, about the Kimmeridgian soils of Chablis. Poor soil - the neutral, ready to sing about terroir Chardonnay loves it! As a part of my wine study trip to Burgundy I visited Chablis - wandered around its' vineyards, its' town and paid a visit to a beautiful organic certified Chablis winery.

Kimmeridgian and Portlandien Soils of Chablis

Serein - a tiny river that flows through the valley where both right and left bank are planted with Chardonnay. These gentle slopes were carved out by geological erosion of Kimmeridgian and Portlandien origins.

Serein river with a view over the Chablis vineyards on the background
Serein river with a view over the Chablis vineyards on the background

Kimmeridgian soil

fossilized marl stones from Kimmeridgian soils in Chablis
A very rare finding - a fossilized oyster shell found on the Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis

The valley is a sedimentary basin that had this specific relief formed due to the weight of sediments that collapsed and formed the hills. Basically, Chablis was under the ocean... The sediments that were deposited on the seabed for millions of years became today's soil (precious!), the water retreated and uncovered it. This specific soil belongs to the Kimmeridgian period and is 155 000 000 years old. When walking the Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards you'll find many marl stones on the surface - pay attention, you'll see thousands of tiny comma-shaped shells turned to stone in these marl. So as soon as you see fossils, be sure it's Kimmeridgian soil.

Grand Cru and Petit Chablis vineyards in Burgundy on a wine study trip
The middle of the slope is Grand Cru, the top right at the forest - Petit Chablis with mainly Portlandien soil.


A completely different formation on top of the plateau, above the slopes. Very compact limestone that is a bit younger - 145 000 000 years. Here you'll find Petit Chablis and some of the Chablis village appellation, known for the Portlandien soil.