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Jean Francois Bordet talking about his Grand Cru Chabis
A great French tradition – the cheese course before dessert

AUXERRE, France -Dinner at a nice French restaurant, all four levels of Chablis wine, and an influential and charming host make all the woes of travel melt away.

The weekend in Chablis was kicked off with a welcome dinner for me and my three fellow U.S. wine writers. Jean Francois Bordet, Domaine Seguinot-Bordet, and President of the Chablis Commssion of Burgundy was our host.

Let’s get the very basics out of the way for most. Chablis comes from four main classifications – Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru, and Grand Cru. Bordet was just 21 when he took over his grandfather’s Domaine in the late 90s.

He shared the history of his family’s wines, the changes he has made since taking over and of course poured his wines. Dinner started with a delightful warm carrot soup in a shot glass, nice salad with toasted sweet potato chips and fava beans, and I had the pork neck in Burgundian sauce. Dessert was a this great little chocolate mess.
Bordet’s wines ranged with the light and mineral driven Petit Chablis to the elegant Grand Cru. Many of the Grand Cru wines do see some time in oak. Bordet uses large barrels and never new oak. The perception is usually most of Chablis is completely unoaked Chardonnay.

I probably should make a disclaimer as I start writing about this weekend. I have certainly had some Chablis through the years but it is one of those areas where I’m really trying to absorb a lot on this trip. My knowledge of the region and wines is minimal. That’s why I found this trip so exicting.

Bordet also addressed the ongoing issue, particularly for French wine makers, of educating the consumer. Even with just seven Grand Cru vineyards, there are differences. I hope to grasp a better understand today (Saturday) when we being our day walking the vineyards near the village of Chablis.

We will be tasting Chablis award-winning wines this morning then spending our afternoon at the Fete des Vins wine festival with more than 50 wineries pouring their Chablis.

Tonight is a large and prestigious banquet of the Chablis wine growers association. The press contingent has been invited. These affairs come with quite a reputation that I’m anxious to witness first hand.

I’ll be doing updates throughout the day on Facebook and Twitter.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoard@gmail.com