This is our final post on the Women Winemakers of Chablis. We’d like to thank all of the women who participated, as well as Marguerite de Chaumont-Quitry, who went to the enormous trouble of setting this all up for us. We asked all nine women the same three questions and Ms. de Chaumont-Quitry got the answers translated for us.
Our final winemaker is Athénais de Béru of Château de Béru.
1) What makes Chablis different from other wines made from chardonnay?
Chablis is not only the name of a charming city in North Burgundy. The terroir of Chablis is unique. The soils of Chablis have a unique geological composition dating from the Jurassic era, named Kimmeridgian. What is Kimmeridgian? Complex limestones full of marine fossils, oysters concentrated salt and iodine. This very unique terroir brings a very unique typicity to the wines produced on Chablis land.
Of course, our grape variety is 100% Chardonnay which is one of the most planted grape varieties in the world. Chardonnay has a very interesting characteristic: it reveals the perfect image and tipicity of where it grows. In a rich and warm soil, it will produce a rich, fat and warm Chardonnay. In a stony, mineral soil with cold temperate weather, it can produce an amazing stony mineral pure and crystalline Chardonnay: a Chablis!
2) If my reader sees Chablis on the label of a bottle of wine, what should she expect to taste in the wine?
Chablis is a huge appellation with many different soils, expositions, many winemakers with many different styles.
Personally, I am against standardization, so I would say there is not one only taste in a Chablis or in any other wine. I am located in Beru, my vineyards are above 300 meters altitude, the personality of my wines cannot be the same as the other lands from Chablis. Each wine is unique. But, generally speaking, a wine from Chablis revealing the best of its Terrroir will be pure and mineral with delicious aromas of citrus fruits like lime or orange and sometimes ripe white fruits like pears or peaches… and with intense saltiness, which brings freshness, salinity and complexity to our wines. The limestones and the chalk also bring nice flinty stones, smoky aromas.
3) Finally, how are things changing for women winemakers in France? In the U.S., making wine is still very dominated by men. Are there more women becoming winemakers? Do women make wine differently than men, and if they do, what do they do that’s different?
I think most of the working world is still more masculine, but it has changed a lot and more women are involved. I am not a feminist. We need both men and women in a project. Making wine is an adventure which also needs both men and women.
To the question “is a wine made by a woman more feminine?” My answer is no.
Wine depends on the land, on the grape variety, on the climate, on the terroir, on the personality of the winemaker. We are all unique. Our wines are unique.