Chardonnay has a predilection for limestone-clay soils like those found in Chablis, and it gives wines of such elegance and finesse that nowhere else in the world can compare. It is not surprising, therefore, that Chardonnay is the only grape variety permitted in the appellation.
Covering an area of 6,830 hectares, the Chablis appellation is divided into four classifications:
1. Petit Chablis - vineyards generally lie on flatter land, covering an area of 1,562 hectares.
2. Chablis - vineyards lie on both flatter ground and on slopes with a northeast exposure, covering an area of 4,420 hectares.
3. Chablis Premier Cru - the vineyards sit on slopes facing south-east, and the total vineyard area is 745 hectares divided into 79 named vineyards. The best known of these are: Mont-De-Milieu, Montée-De-Tonnerre, Fourchaume, Vaillons, Montmains, Vaucoupins and Côte De Léchet.
4. Chablis Grand Cru - an appellation of just 103 hectares divided into seven adjoining vineyards on the slopes of the right bank of the River Serein: Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésirs. The top tier of quality in Chablis.