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One of the most famous white wines in the world comes from this area in the north west of Burgundy. Monks from the Abbey of Pontigny were the first to plant Chardonnay grapes here on the slopes surrounding the River Serein realising that the microclimate in this area with its cold spring was essential for the dry, honey-scented flavour of the wine. The wines fall into four appellations: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru and Grand Cru. For an overview of Chablis wines, see Jancis Robinson's article in our Wine Region section.
There is evidence of the town’s lasting prosperity all around. The wine domains, the boutiques and specialist shops, the luxurious hotels and restaurants all herald the visitor. Visit Domaine Michel Laroche in Rue Auxerre or their wine bar, boutique hotel, restaurant and shop, the Hotel du Vieux Moulin, 18 Rue des Moulins, to taste some of the best of local wines. Laroche offers a one day wine course, with lunch included.
Another cellar worth visiting is William Fevre at 14 Rue Jules Rathier, what used to be the old Chablis hospital. His restaurant is next door where you can taste wines by the glass with each regional dish. There is also a bistro-wine bar for less formal meals.
The giftshop Au Cep Gourmand on Rue Auxerroise is charming, and Les Jardins Européens, a photographer’s delight. The tourist office in the centre of town has bikes for hire with route suggestions for trips through the vineyards. To reserve bikes: 00 33 (0)386 42 80 80
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Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com