Domaine Savary Chablis Vieilles Vignes with Scallops and Brussels Sprouts 2 Ways (#Winophiles)

Francine et Olivier Savary Chablis Vieilles Vignes with Scallops and Brussels Sprouts 2 Ways.
Whenever I encounter someone who tells me they don’t like Chardonnay because they don’t like big, buttery, oaky white wines, I want to (and usually do) say "But have you tried Chablis?" Chablis is none of those things. Wines from Chablis tend to be lean, mean, minerally machines. 

Well, they’re not all mean — they’re also often very elegant and extremely refreshing . . . but they also taste like a few rocks and shells got mixed in.

I tend to want to drink Chablis when the sun is shining, ideally with a big plate of oysters and other raw bar treats. However, my guess is that those sunny, shiny days are few and far between in this area of northeastern France where it gets quite cold. I’ve never been myself, but a few years ago I read an article called "In Chablis It’s Called 'Rock Juice'" by Adam Leith Gollner in Saveur that really painted my image of this region. Gollner describes it as "a rainy, cold, hardscrabble place where it often seems that villagers would prefer if outsiders stayed away and let them craft their finicky, terse wines in private."

I think this piece has stuck with me for so long because Gollner takes me on EXACTLY the trip that I specifically would want to go on. He visits the winemakers of the region (including some pretty legendary figures — he starts at the door of Jean-Marie Raveneau) to taste their wines with them and get their pairing suggestions. He has ulterior motives though; he’s trying to get himself invited to dinner.

Being suspicious of strangers, most of them initially treat him like he’s un petit fous. However, he says, "the Chablisians may be taciturn, but they're also profoundly kind-hearted and close to the earth." To give you an idea of the personalities we’re dealing with, there’s a humorous scene between Marie-Clotilde Dauvissat and her husband Laurent Tribut. When he can’t take a compliment she admonishes him, "I'm offering you flowers . . . It doesn't happen often. You should take them."

Gollner is eventually able to find the chinks in the armor of the Chablisian winemakers enough to get several invitations to dine to varying degrees. He gets to join in on a few homemade meals, as well as snacks and smaller meals like gougères, crunchy bread and truffle butter, decadent scrambled eggs loaded with more truffles, and guac with chips.

This is a hero’s journey that I really could see myself at the center of.



I’ve covered Chablis before, and if you want to take a deeper look, please check out this post.  As a quick recap though, here are some quick, basics:

  • Chablis is subregion of Burgundy in NE France. It’s a bit removed and farther north from the rest of Burgundy.
  • The grape is Chardonnay. 
  • This area puts its own spin on it. Even when compared to other parts of Burgundy, wines from Chablis tend to be leaner. They're also generally not oaked. Stainless steel tanks are typical fermentation to enhance the crisp minerally style.  Some use neutral barrels that do not give off any oaky flavor. When they do use oak (which is more likely at the high end Premier and Grand Cru levels), it tends to be moderate and well integrated. You'd be hard-pressed to find an "oaky Chablis."
  • They have a cool, semi-continental climate. This factors into the style as the chilly conditions lead to high levels of acidity. Feel your mouth water!
  • Chablis is famous for Kimmeridigian as well as Portlandian soils. These crazy old soils have remnants of fossilized oyster shells leftover from an ancient, long-gone sea. These also factor into the style of the wines here, since they lend a particular minerality to the wines.

Gollner poetically describes the experience of drinking Chablis, which is so tied to that terroir:

One sip is all it takes to realize that terrestrial constituents seem to have infused themselves into the wine like finely flavored microscopic particulate matter. Picture a sprinkling of moon dust in your glass. It's the opposite of ripe, oaky, in-your-face California chardonnays. Chablis carries the memory of glaciers. That oceanic stoniness is the ideal complement to raw oysters.

Image borrowed from Saveur. Photo by William Hereford.


As you might of guessed, I recently revisited this article. The French Winophiles (#Winophiles) are exploring Chablis this month (see the invite post here and scroll down for the rest of the group’s offerings) which inspired me to go searching for it again. It’s stuck with me all this time, so I thought I’d finally try one of the recommended recipes.

I lucked out –– we even had a wine from one the winemakers featured in the story at Bay Grape. I happily grabbed the Francine et Olivier Savary Chablis Sélection Vieilles 2017.

Francine et Olivier Savary Chablis Vieilles Vignes with Scallops and Brussels Sprouts 2 ways.

Olivier Savary and his wife Francine have been working in the area since 1984, and Olivier’s winemaking lineage goes back further through his family. However, there were no vines or winery waiting for him to takeover. Nonetheless, Olivier decided to go to Dijon to study winemaking.  He and Francine started out as sharecroppers, along with some help from Olivier’s father as well. When they started out they would sell their fruit to a négociant. After they’d cut their teeth in this way for a bit, they started bottling and selling their own wines. Today, their sons Maxime and Mathieu are part of the family business as well.

The wine was really fresh and light on the nose on the day Greg and I opened it, with notes of citrus, stones, and mixed green and gold apples. It was rounder on the palate with gold apples, lemons, and chalky sea minerals on the finish. There’s plenty of acidity here, but it’s not as crazy searing as it can be on some Chablis. This one’s on the juicy side. Very refreshing! I think this would be a very crowd-pleasing Chablis.

A recipe by Margaux Laroche of Domaine d'Henri  from the article for Seared Scallops with Steamed Brussels Sprout Leaves doused with soy sauce and ginger caught my fancy. However, I also REALLY love the combination of brussels sprouts and bacon. I wanted to try their way, but also really wanted mine too. I decided to do both!

Definitely not a bad move. It’s always fun to compare and see how a wine changes with different flavors. The scallops were an easy match for the wine. All good things there. As for the sprouts, each version brought out a different side of the wine. With all the umami from the soy sauce and ginger, the recipe from Saveur brought out the umami notes in the wine and showcased it’s seashell minerality.

On the other hand, since this Chablis was on the rounder side, it also worked really well with the smoky bacon. This brought out the juicier aspect of the wine. I was really torn between the two, although Greg very slightly prefered the bacony version as a match. Take your pick! These are both really good matches.


In the story, Gollner enjoys a dinner of Chablis-style Ham with Tomato Cream Sauce with Francine and Olivier Savary. I will absolutely have to try this in the future.

In addition to the pairings suggested above, the article also mentions how well Chablis goes with sushi. I’ve definitely taken this suggestion to heart and tried it over the years and it really does work quite well.

If you’re looking for other wines to pair, most minerally white wines should work well here. Muscadet and Sancerre (or other another Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley) would be good alternative options. The brussels sprouts made with bacon could also handle wines with a little more fleshiness to them as well.

Or try this clam and burrata pizza I also paired with a Chablis. 


Taken from the Kermit Lynch Website.

• Average age of vines: 35 years old.
• Soil type: Kimmeridgian Limestone.
• Vineyard size: 3 ha.
• Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation occur in 20% neutral oak barrels and 80% in stainless steel.
• Wine is aged on fine lees.



This wine retails for $31 at Bay Grape. I think that a very solid value for this approachable, yet classic wine that’s very representative of the region.

Scallops with Brussels Sprouts 2 Ways

I wanted to cook the scallops and ½ the brussels sprouts in bacon fat, so I’ve included them here as part of the same preparation and have included the second preparation for brussels sprouts separately. Refer to the Saveur recipe here to see a version of  this preparation in combination with the scallops.

Yield: 4

Scallops with Brussels Sprouts topped with Bacon

prep time: 10 Mcook time: 40 Mtotal time: 50 M


  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed of yellow leaves, and halved
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 lb scallops, rinsed and dried with paper towels (alternatively, plan on 4 to 5 scallops per person)
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cook bacon until crispy by whatever method you prefer, either in a pan or in the oven for about 15 minutes. Transfer bacon to another plate.
  3. Split the rendered bacon fat between a roasting pan and a large frying pan. Add the brussels sprouts to the roasting pan and toss with the bacon fat, olive oil (if needed), lemon juice if using, salt, and pepper. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 mins until well browned, tossing once halfway through. Once browned, keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Heat a generous amount of olive in the large pan with the bacon fat. (You can also add a little butter to the pan if desired.) Season scallops with salt and pepper. Once the oil is very hot, carefully add the scallops to the pan. Cook the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until they have developed a golden brown crust and are no longer translucent. Remove from heat and season lightly again with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Shred up the bacon into pieces and sprinkle on top of the brussels sprouts along with the Parmesan cheese if using and serve with the scallops.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Yield: 4

Steamed Brussels Sprout Leaves with Ginger and Soy Sauce

prep time: 15 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 25 M
This recipe was adapted from this recipe in Saveur. In the original, the leaves are briefly boiled, rather than steamed as indicated by the name. In this version, I used a steamer basket to steam the leaves. Other than that, I was pretty faithful to the original.


  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 (1½") piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce


  1. Using a paring knife, and working with 1 sprout at a time, insert the tip of the knife just outside the stem end of the sprout and twist the sprout around the knife to release the core. Using your fingers, separate individual leaves and set aside; discard cores.
  2. Nestle a steamer basket in a pot. Fill the pot with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil. Add the leaves to the steamer basket, reduce heat to medium-low, then steam for 3 to 5 minutes or until the leaves are dark green and tender. Remove from heat and discard the excess water.
  3. Return the pot to the stove. Add butter to the pot and melt over medium-high; cook ginger 1 minute. Stir in olive oil, the lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat, add the leaves, and toss well to coat in sauce. Serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Scallops and Brussels Sprouts 2 Ways.


Be sure to check out the rest of the French Winophiles posts exploring Chablis:



  1. I would never have dreamed of doing a pairing taste with Brussels Sprouts. I love them and am happy to have a wine to serve alongside in the future.

  2. "A hero's journey" indeed. What a charming piece that you have shared, while painting a picture of Chablis. I feel like I see it in grainy black and while, (like the photo of the soil). And I am absolutely charmed by Marie-Clotilde Dauvissat... "I'm offering you flowers . . . It doesn't happen often. You should take them." I can see why this piece stuck with you and I thank you for sharing it with your thoughts and tasting.

    1. That's kind of how I see it as well! Like a faded photograph. Thanks for sharing that lovely reaction!

  3. I like the way you created a sense of place by weaving in the article by Adam Leith Gollner. I’d still love to go, regardless of the rain and cold, and all the more after reading your post!

    1. Thanks so much. I definitely still want to go as well!

  4. Enjoyed reading about your pairings! The ham in tomato sauce sounds phenomenal - it’s now on my to-do list!

    1. Thanks Payal! Let me know if you do! I'm really curious about that one.

  5. I remember reading the Saveur article while researching ahead of our trip last summer. While I don't think I'll ever get invited to dinner, I came away from our 1 day visit 100% ready to return for more exploration!

    1. How cool to get to go! The pictures in your post completely add to the imagery I had in my mind from the article.

  6. Great pairings! I am so drawn towards the brussels sprout with ginger soy sauce and I can't believe I have never tried cooking my brussels sprout this way. I can imagine how creamy the scallops are - awesome pairing with your Chablis!

    1. I can imagine that one would be right up your alley! I was tasty and quite easy. It could be even simpler if one were to buy those pre-shredded versions of brussels sprout leaves.Thanks so much for your comment!


Thanks so much for leaving your comments and questions. I always love to hear from you!