Bright, crisp Chablis for springtime feasting


Spring is here. The trees are thickening with blossom and the evenings are ever lighter, calling for a wine with an energy to match. Our Own Selection Chablis is delicious for spring evenings, and quite a treat when paired with a variety of dishes.  

As the evenings lighten, I find myself craving lighter wines too. There is a palpable lift as we leave winter behind us. The gasp of magnolias, unspooling blooms of wisteria, the evening light on the Thames. There is so much brightness in the air, and yet, it is still crisp and cool. Perhaps illogically, I find myself gravitating to wines of this character too.  

Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Own Selection Chablis is a mainstay of my “everyday” repertoire. That’s not to say that I drink it every day, but rather, it is a wine I turn to when I’m looking for something delicious to enjoy with a midweek supper, or if I’m going to a friend’s house for lunch. It is gorgeously fresh, almost steely, yet balanced by a hint of ripeness. It has notes of crisp orchard fruits – like the first bite into a perfect apple – with those characteristic flashes of iodine and salty oyster shell. Made from the Chardonnay grape, the complete absence of oak means it retains a delicate fruit purity, speaking to the cool climate in which the grapes are grown. It is this cool-climate profile that makes it such a fantastic partner for food, as its subtle flavours are more likely to complement – rather than overpower – a meal.  

With a high acidity and refreshing character, this Chablis would match beautifully with lighter vegetable dishes, such as seared lemon asparagus or roasted cabbage quarters. Cabbage has a bad reputation in this country – the scourge of 1960s schoolchildren, I’m told (I wasn’t there) – but this dish is a delight. Beautifully crispy on the outside, slippery and tender on the inside. For a delicious Sichuan-inspired pairing, you could also pan-fry it, finely shredded, with the “fish-fragrant” combination of ginger, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. The wine’s crispness will balance out the moreish, umami salt-and-vinegar flavours very nicely.

For a dish with a more romantic touch, try it with a crab linguine with chilli and parsley (extra points for fresh pasta). Chablis, in general, is seen as a classic match for seafood, its subtle minerality matching very nicely with the slightly iodine flavour in fish. It also plays well with the ingredients that often accompany seafood – lemon, fresh herbs, asparagus and green beans – all of which have delicate flavours that are easily overpowered by more robust wines.  

Having said that, the steely acidity here will also stand up to richer dishes, cutting through the fat very nicely. I’m thinking dishes of the gloopy, cheesy variety, such as rarebit toasts or even a simple buttery spud loaded with cheese and beans. A gratin dauphinoise would make a slightly more sophisticated match, and it’s a beautiful (and generous) centrepiece for a dinner party. Such a versatile wine is sure to go down a treat around the table, given its ability to match with a variety of cuisines and dishes.

But if you really don’t feel like cooking, a box of fish and chips will do just nicely. Pour yourself a large glass of perfectly chilled Chablis, and you’re all set.  

Buy the 2022 Own Selection Chablis here