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Head sommelier shares his love of Chablis

February 15, 2022

As head sommelier at Le Meurice, Gabriel Veissaire samples many wines. One favourite he returns to time and time again though is Chablis. Discover why this particular wine is so close to his heart.
Photo of Gabriel Veissaire, head sommerlier at Le Meurice Paris, serving wine

In the spotlight

Chablis enjoys a highly prestigious reputation as one of the most widely consumed appellations around the world. It’s a white Burgundy made from Chardonnay grapes, known locally as ‘Beaunois’. The local limestone soil and mild summers, followed by very long winters, provide ideal growing conditions for the grapes, and help to give the wine its much-loved rich yet fresh flavour.

Respect for winemakers

As part of my training to become a sommelier, I visited nearly 200 French vineyards estates in two years. It was an enriching experience as I was immediately in contact with winemakers, and could see their passion and dedication for what they do. Being a professional winemaker is a demanding role. It’s all about understanding and respecting the terroir, the ecosystem, and choosing the right cultivation and vinification methods.

Tables set in the restaurant in Pairs at Le Meurice
Bottle of Chablis Premier Cru wine, taken at Le Meurice Paris

Standing out from the crowd

If I have to choose just one wine estate to highlight for their Chablis, it has to be Raveneau. Founded in 1948 by the Raveneau and Dauvissat family, their vineyards are located around 98 miles/158km south-east of Paris, in the Bourgogne Franche-Comté region.

Glass of white wine hold by Gabriel Veissaire, head sommelier at Le Meurice Paris

Chablis Grand Cru

In the 1960s and 1970s, François Raveneau bought Chablis Grand Cru vines and decided to promote his wine in the US. His family’s eight-hectare estate includes three Chablis Grands Crus and six Premiers Crus, which are among the greatest Chablis produced anywhere in the world.

Details of Le Meurice Alain Ducasse restaurant room
Gabriel Veissaire, head sommelier at Le Meurice Paris, smelling a glass of wine

Worth waiting for

Wines like these need time to mature and reach their full potential. I recommend that you taste them when they are have been aged for at least ten years, this is when their distinctive flowery and honey aromas can be fully appreciated and enjoyed.

True artisans

The Domaine de Raveneau still works in the traditional way, remaining faithful to manual harvesting, ageing and vinification of the wines in barrels. Production is limited and because of its rarity, sales are allocated to the longest-standing customers only. The estate no longer takes on new requests so we are very fortunate to be able to offer these wines at Le Meurice.

Side view of Le Meurice Alain Ducasse restaurant tables in Paris
Portrait of Gabriel Veissaire, head sommelier, and Amaury Bouhours, Chef, at Le Meurice Paris

Perfect pairings

When it comes to food, I like to pair Chablis with something very pure. It goes perfectly with the Normandy scallops selected by chef Amaury Bouhours, and served with a lightly spiced leek broth. It’s a winning combination that brings out the best of both the wine and the food, which is exactly what I’m looking for to recommend to our discerning guests.

Photo of LMAD Normandy scallops with leek broth from Chef Amaury Bouhours

To meet Gabriel Veissaire and enjoy a glass of chilled Chablis or any of our other wonderful wines, dine with us at Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse.

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Le Meurice

The original palace hotel in the heart of historic Paris, Le Meurice with its splendid newly-restored rooms and suites is the very epitome of quiet elegance and is alive with the artist’s soul of wit and magic.

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