The Climats of Chablis : micro-terroirs

Les Fourneaux, Morein and Côte des Près-Girots

Les Fourneaux, a flag-bearing Climat

Prononciation - Chablis Premier Cru Les Fourneaux    Prononciation - Chablis Premier Cru Les Fourneaux

Chablis 1er Cru Les Fourneaux

Named Les Fourneaux since 1537 and with an excellent sun exposure, this Climat’s name certainly refers to heat.

Les Fourneaux, a flag-bearing Climat of the right bank, with its secondary Climats Morein and Côte des Prés-Girots, covers about 33 hectares on a Kimmeridgian subsoil and poor stony clay soil. The first element that catches the eye is the small stream meandering below, the Crioux: to the west lies Les Fourneaux itself, while the slope to the east extends into the Climat called Morein.

Situated in Fleys, in a side valley secondary to that of the Serein, this Climat is advantageously exposed to the south and east, as well as fortunate to be largely protected from northern winds by the bottom of the valley. This unique exposure is at the heart of this warm and sun-drenched Climat where grapes thrive and ripen so easily.

Climat les Fourneaux

Character, stories and legends

  • The words beautifully reflecting the essence of this Climat: generosity and mineral finesse. A subtle balance between perfectly ripened grapes and the Kimmeridgian marls that structure the wine and bring a touch of acidity. The pleasurable wines from Les Fourneaux can be enjoyed young or aged a few years.
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  • The first evidence of Les Fourneaux goes back to 1537. This lieu-dit name for a location is very common in France and was written in the singular at the time, making an explicit reference to heat. So, is it in reference to the former "fours à chaux" (lime kilns) or to the sun burning the winemaker’s or the berries’ skin? Anything is possible!
     

Morein

Climat Morein

Prononciation - Chablis Premier Cru Morein    Prononciation - Chablis Premier Cru Morein

Chablis 1er Cru Morein

Did this Climat formerly belong to the Morin family, or does it refer to "Morillon", an old grape varietal planted in the Middle Ages? Nobody knows…

 

Morein is a Climat that lies alongside the Crioux, that small stream that flows into the Serein. With a Kimmeridgian subsoil and a poor clay soil which is also stony, it is very similar to its flag-bearing Climat, Les Fourneaux. Both of these Climats sit on the right bank of the Serein and are well protected from the north winds. Their south and southeast facing slopes are ideal for a quick and easy ripening of the grapes.

Character, stories and legends

  • Morein is all about balance: the warmth and fruitiness of this Climat, brought about by its southern exposure, are counterbalanced by the Kimmeridgian marls that structure the wine with a fine minerality and a moderate acidity. Generous and cheerful, these wines are ready to drink quite young. They will be at their best after 2 or 3 years but can easily be aged a little longer! They can still be enjoyed after 5 years or more!
  • Morein is quite out of the spotlight and this Climat name is little used: you will usually see it sold under the name of its neighboring flag-bearing Climat, Les Fourneaux.
  • With four possible origins, it is quite challenging to pinpoint the true meaning behind the name of this Climat! For some, Morein might come from the word "moraine", meaning a mass of sediment accumulated by erosion. For others, it might stem from "moraillon" or "morillon", an old varietal planted in the Middle Ages. Some say that a family with the name "Morin" used to own the land, or that the winemakers working these vines suffered from back pain and had "maux reins" or "mort reins" (bad back/kidneys) ...

 

Côte des Près-Girots

Prononciation - Chablis Premier Cru Côte des Près-Girots    Prononciation - Chablis Premier Cru Côte des Près-Girots

Chablis 1er Cru Côte des Prés-Girots

Written evidence of this Climat appears as early as 1429, with the spelling "pré giraut".

Perched on the heights of the village of Fleys, Côte des Prés-Girots is rather discreet. It reposes contentedly close to the Crioux, a small stream with which the winemakers of Chablis are quite familiar. The unique structure of its subsoil is characterized by marls (a natural mixture of clay and limestone) and limestone very rich in Exogyra virgula, the fossilized oyster characteristic of the soils of Chablis. The dense clay soil is also very stony. Facing south and east, this Climat is protected from the north winds by the woods that overlook the hillside. Because of their southern exposure, the grapes ripen faster here than those of their neighbor Les Fourneaux. To avoid excessive maturity, choosing the correct harvest date is crucial!

Climat Côte des Près-Girots

Character, stories and legends

  • Under the radar and often out of the spotlight, this Climat is worth the detour. Its southern exposure brings a beautiful maturity to the grapes. In the glass, it boasts the typical saltiness of Chablis wines. Due to their good structure, the wines of the Côte de Prés-Girots have a 5 or 7 year ageing potential, depending on the vintage.
  • The name of this Climat is relatively unknown to the general public. Instead of Côte de Prés-Girots, the wines are usually sold under the name of their neighboring flag-bearing Climat, Les Fourneaux.
  • First spelled "pré giraut" in 1429, this Climat ended up being called "la Côte des Prés-Girots" as a reference to the slope located above the fields that embraces the shape of the bottom of the valley. Gyrare in Latin refers to "giratoire" (to turn around), so by extension "Prés-Girots" would refer to fields that turn. According to the legend, this name could also refer to the Girault family or to a certain Girard, a former owner of the land.