Wine has been produced around Chablis since at least the ninth century. For the last hundred years the area of cultivation authorized to use the name Chablis has had controversial and shifting boundaries.The controversy centers around the area’s two geological formations of limestone deposits; the Kimmeridgian and the Portlandian.The Kimmeridgian soils which are soft and marly, are found mostly on the slopes while the Portlandian soils are hard and rocky and are found mostly on top of the hills. The question is whether or not to restrict the appellation to vineyards on Kimmeridgian soils. There are many opinions on the subject, but no two seem to agree. There is great overlapping of the soils and thus a geological answer is not clear cut and there is also the historical record of where vineyards have been cultivated which further confuses matters.
Established in 1970, the Domaine d’Elise is located just outside the town of Chablis in the commune of Milly. It was purchased by the current owner Frederic Prain in 1982. The domaine’s vineyard is situated directly above the south/southeastern facing Premier Cru Côte de Lechet. A rarity in Burgundy, the estate's entire 13 hectares are in one parcel, and the appellation laws divide it equally into Chablis and Petit Chablis AOP. The soils are quite poor with an abundance of surface stones, particularly on the top of the hill. A great deal of pruning is done throughout the growing season in order to limit yields to 45/50 hl per ha. Harvesting is done as late as possible.
Monsieur Prain allows the must to settle before fermentation which is done in stainless steel lined cement vats that are temperature controlled. Both wines go through a malolactic fermentation and then are matured on their lees; the Petit Chablis for seven months and the Chablis for 10 months. He selects the best vats to bottle under his own label and sells 50% of his production “en vrac” to negociants. The 2016 Petit Chablis drinks pure and clean, exuding aromas of pear blossom, struck flint, sea shell and lemon peel, with beautiful acidity framing the crystalline fruit. A must-do with fresh shellfish.