My reasons were pretty emotive, Bill. Andrea Robinson uses Chardonnay as one of the big three whites, Chablis is one of the purest versions of Chardonnay since it isn't oaked and it's from France so a model for other areas, your tasting note encouraged me to go with Chablis first, and I had been toying with the idea because of a quote from one of the very first wine books I ever read, based in part on a personal love affair with oysters:
Chablis is so good with oysters
That I'm tempted to leave these cloisters
And find true love whe'ere I'm apt to.
Tenth century poetic fragment.
Kermit Lynch, Adventures on the Wine Route, 1988.
I'm going to leave the red wine cloisters from time to time, that's for sure. :-)
How white wine?
When I resolved to learn about Italy ten years ago, I read a general book on Italian wine, and divided the country into 40 political subdivisions, and some of those into two or more important grapes, resolving to spend a week on each of the areas. I then found out everything I could about the first on the list -- Chianti if memory serves. All the usual suspects: Parker, Robinson, Johnson, some of my Italian wine books, tasting notes on WLDG, posting requests for info on WLDG, and buying a few Chiantis from retailers. I typed up a file of all the information I could find in that period -- I learn best by reading and making copious notes -- not so much to refer to them again, but learning somehow by writing about what I have read.
I'll follow basically the same approach for white wines. I took the Robinson course to get a good overview and I'm setting up the 50 or so categories that I plan to study week by week for the next year. I've got a couple of good retailers in mind -- Burgundy Wine Company and Chambers Street for Burgundy whites, perhaps Daniel Johnness. I've also got a resource I didn't have for Italy -- 20,000 wine notes of my own. It turns out 22 of them are for Chablis, and I've started putting them into my Chablis file (together with your note and the suggestions Hoke made); I'll follow up on any of the background stuff in my wine notes. For example, I see that I attended a dinner where Jancis Robinson compared two lovely Chablis; I'll post a note to her on the Purple Pages, quote my notes, and now that five years have passed, ask her what she thinks now. [That will kick up some additional information; in my experience, she responds very generously to specific questions like this one.]
The dinner was held at Montrachet in November 2001, and my notes on this course read:
1996 René and Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Forêts Burgundy France. Very pale color; lovely intense aroma that went on and on; lovely purity of flavor; quite tart, but well balanced and a long finish. 4*. [Robinson thought the wine was in a "trough" - closed down and not showing well. She thought it needed another five years before it would show well.]
1996 René and Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos Burgundy France. Light yellow color; restrain aroma; concentrated tastes, but quite restrained; long finish. Needs time. 3*. [Robinson said the wine was really closed, but would, she thought, eventually develop into a greater wine than the Les Forêts. She had an interesting tasting phrase to describe Chablis - "wet stones" - and darned if I didn't understand what she meant.]
In any event, that's the approach. By this time next year I won't have any excuses for not understanding white wines.