The Jean Bouchard Aldi Chablis
You always know roughly what you’re getting with Chablis: a dry, “steely”, acidic Chardonnay with a high minerality, from the far-northern reaches of the Burgundy region — not far from Champagne in both flavour and location.
If I had to personify Chablis, I’d call it refined but kind of serious. If you went on a date with it, you might take it to see some surrealist theatre, but you wouldn’t go clubbing.
And although you get a minimum assurance of quality from Chablis, that doesn’t, of course, mean there aren’t variations between different makes.
This one, by Jean Bouchard, is the winemaker’s entry level variety. As expected, white fruit flavours (apple, pear) dominate, while there’s also a touch of peach in the background.
It’s been aged on the lees for six to eight months, which isn’t as much as many wines of this type, and consequently it does lack some of the savoury, yeasty character that fans of Chablis and Champagne find so comfortingly moreish.
The result is a pleasant, easy-drinking white, which outperforms its equivalent at Lidl, but still leaves a bit to be desired compared to more robust examples of Chablis.
At around a tenner, it’s relatively cheap for a Chablis. But, of course, you’re paying a premium for the name, and Aldi tend to do more interesting and characterful whites than this for a couple of quid less.
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If want to go bolder and more fruit-forward, but stay in the same price range, I’d recommend picking up something from one of the better-value French regions like the Languedoc, or even southern Burgundy. Alternatively, there are some decent supermarket Petit-Chablis around that provide more multi-dimensionality for your dough than this one.
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Jean Bouchard Chablis 2017, £9.99 from Aldi. 12.5% volume.