Chablis vs Chardonnay: Similarities and Differences

chablis vs chardonnay

Every Chablis (“Shah-blee”) is a Chardonnay. Not every Chardonnay wine is a Chablis. One is a white wine grape varietal and the other one is a wine region.

And even though Chablis is 100% Chardonnay, it might taste polar opposite to what you think Chardonnay tastes like in the US.

So in this post, we will discuss the similarities and differences between Chablis and Chardonnay. And we will help you decide which one is right for you!

Table of Contents

What is Chablis?

France Wine Region Map red grapes pinot noir vintage champagne

Chablis is a wine region located in the northernmost part of Burgundy, France. Chablis wines are exclusively made from 100% Chardonnay grapes.

The climate here is cool which helps give Chablis its signature flinty, mineral taste with high acidity and a crisp taste. The Chardonnay grape thrives in this climate and the wines produced are some of the most elegant white wines in the world. 

4 Types of Chablis

chablis classification system

There are four (4) appellations of Chablis:

  1. Petit Chablis: The lightest and most affordable. These wines are unoaked and have very little aging potential.
  2. Chablis: The most classic style of Chablis. These wines are unoaked and have a medium body with fresh acidity.
  3. Chablis Premier Cru: These are the first-growth Premier Cru wines of Chablis and are some of the most coveted and expensive in the region.
  4. Chablis Grand Cru: The rarest (and most expensive) style of Chablis. For Grand Cru wines, there are only seven (7) Grand Cru vineyards in all of Chablis.

What is Chardonnay?

best chardonnay

It’s certainly the world’s most well-known white wine. Most likely because Chardonnay is a white wine grape varietal that is grown in almost every major wine region in the world. It grows in a variety of climates and terroirs because to its adaptability to a wide range of conditions, from France, Oregon, California, South America, and Australia.

And the Chardonnay grape produces some of the most diverse wines in the world, from crisp and refreshing to rich and buttery.

Chardonnay thrives in most any environment/terroir and has the flavor of whatever barrel or process the wine maker uses. Because the Chardonnay grape has such neutral flavors, it absorbs the terroir as well as how it is produced. 

What are the Differences between Chablis and Chardonnay?

chablis vs chardonnay comparison (1)


As mentioned earlier, Chablis is a cool climate wine region that produces elegant Chardonnay wines with a signature flinty, mineral taste. A Chablis wine will be light bodied and crisp.

In contrast, Chardonnay wines from other regions can vary greatly in taste. For example, Chardonnays from warm climates will often be richer and have more tropical fruit flavors, while Chardonnays from cooler climates will be more refreshing with citrusy notes.


Chablis wines tend to have a light body, while Chardonnay wines can range from medium body to full-bodied.

Oak aging:

Chablis wines are typically unoaked Chardonnay, only some are oak aged Chardonnay from the Premier Cru and Grand Cru Chablis appellations. 

Many Chardonnay wines from other wine regions, on the other hand, employ oak aging.

oaked chardonnay vs unoaked chardonnay is chardonnay sweet


Which is Better Chardonnay or Chablis?

It depends on your taste!

If you like a light, refreshing white wine with high acidity, then Chablis is a great choice.

If you prefer a richer, more full-bodied white wine, then there are many other types of Chardonnay that will suit your taste.

However, just so you know, Chardonnay is not a one-trick pony; instead, it should appeal to all tastes because it is quite flexible depending on how you make it and where it’s from.

Is Chablis the Same as Chardonnay?

pair with fried chicken sweet tea stone fruit

Chardonnay is a wine grape or varietal. Chablis is a region in France. However, Chablis is made of 100% Chardonnay grapes. And Chardonnay does not always have to be 100% Chardonnay.

What's Drier Chablis or Chardonnay?

Chablis wines are typically drier than other Chardonnays because of the cool climate in which they are grown.


Chablis is a region in northern Burgundy that makes wines that are 100% Chardonnay grapes. Chardonnay is a wine varietal that can be made in many regions all over the world. And they will have quite a wide range of tastes.

Try both and see what you like! Cheers!

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