Classic And Unconventional Pairings with Chablis

With a stellar 2020 vintage, why not get into more of what Chablis has to offer in terms of wine pairings. 

The 2020 vintage of Chablis has turned out to be a stand-out year. While winegrowers might have woke in the middle of the night to protect their vines from the spring frosts, the vintage overall was remarkably warm. Early spring of 2020 had lots of sunshine, moving into a hot and dry summer with light rains in August lead 2020 to an earlier harvest than expected. 2020 is a vintage of quality within the region and a classic one for Chablis wines!

Across the board, Chablis, no matter the vintage, is one of my go-to wines to put on a wine pairing list. The wine style is so pairable because of its citrus and white flower aromas, lifted body, acid-driven profile and minerality. Chablis is a wine that, while tasty all on its own, is missing just enough notes to be an ideal complement to many dishes. This is paramount when it comes to thinking about how a wine will complement a dish.

The experience of great wine and food pairings is driven by the dish and the wine components. I like to view how each element in a meal will affect the wine in a pairing. Acidity in foods can change the perception of wine on the palate by increasing its body, sweetness and fruit flavours while also decreasing the perception of sharpness. Bitter foods bring out bitter notes in the wine. Salty foods increase a wine’s perception of body and reduce its acidity and bitterness.

Fatty foods increase acidity and fruit flavours while decreasing tannins and perception of alcohol. Sweet foods lower a wine’s body, sweetness and fruit flavour and increase bitterness, acidity and alcohol perception. Finally, spicy and umami dishes increase wine’s bitterness, acidy, and alcohol perception while decreasing the wine’s body, richness, sweetness, and fruit flavours.

Keeping those basic pairing rules in mind today, I am diving into some pairings with the 2020 Chablis production by Domaine Séguinot-Bordet. The wine itself has aromas of ripe peaches, apricots, soft white floral notes, lemon juice, a seaside mineral vibe. On the palate, the wine is harmonious, vivacious, with bright acidity, expressive minerality, tart citrus notes, with a persistent finish. Overall, the wine is medium in body, high in acidity, dry, has low fruit notes and an excellent level of minerality. Opening up the mind to many pairing options, both classic and unconventional.

Chablis and oysters. Let’s dive right in, starting with a classic pairing. Oysters have a flavour profile that brings the sea to the table. This pairing brings out the minerality, acidity, and soft fruit notes of the wine even more. Oysters also complement the lifted body of this Chablis. Give a try to this pairing at home with an order of a half dozen oysters from Bar Neon.

My mind drifts directly to Chablis when pairing with Cod Fish and Chips for a more modern pairing with a classic touch. The crisp batter, richness and crunch of the dish coupled with the salty favour of think cut potatoes fries complement the freshness of this wine well. The fats in the dish and just enough to match the lean feel of the wine, bringing out its bright acidity, and giving the wine a more decadent feel on the palate. Give a try to this pairing at home with an order of Cod Fish and Chips from one of my fav spots, Hooky’s Fish and Chips.

Unconventional pairings with Chablis are where we really get to put our wine pairing skills to the test. I enjoy pairing Chablis with a Cheese Dosa. This thin crepe-like south Indian dish is done in a street-food way with a cheese filling. While Dosa can be spicy at times, the street-food-style cheese Dosa quells that spice intensity and doesn’t overwhelm the palate. This pairing brings out a different side of the wine. The dish highlights the brightness of the wine, brings forward its mineral notes, and the aromatic profile of the wine is center stage in this pairing, with the fruit aromas feeling more prominent from sip to sip. When thinking about each part of the dish, these are the types of pairings that can really help make a memorable dining experience. If you are dying to try this unconventional pairing, check out Annalakshmi Restaurant Toronto to order a Cheese Dosa the next time you pop a bottle of Chablis.

Running with the unconventional pairing vibes but shifting gears a little. Chablis is not a white wine that has to only be paired with fish and veg dishes. The wine is bold enough to pair with lighter meats like chicken and pork. My final pairing for the day is Chablis and Pork Gyro bowl from Bar Neon. This bowl of slow-roasted pork shoulder on top of quinoa tabbouleh and topped with red cabbage, pickled red onions and tzatziki. There are many components to this dish that the wine can pick up on. When you pick up every part of the dish in one bite, followed by a sip of Chablis, the wine pairs well, showing a brightness, richness, and bold expression of fruit aromas in such a harmonious way.

Chablis is a classic wine. However, that doesn’t mean that you only have to pair it with traditional foods. Being bold with your pairings or going the unconventional route can improve your pairing skills and create some surprising and delicious experiences with Chablis along the way!