Jean-Marc Brocard's origins lie in the Côte d'Or. But he was born a farmer's son from the village of Chaudenay-le-Château, and trained as an agricultural engineer, along the way designing and trademarking a trailer attachment. It was an accident of marriage that brought him to wine: he married Claudine (his childhood sweetheart), a vigneron's daughter from the village of St-Bris-le-Vineux in the valley of L' Yonne. Starting with a hectare of vines from his father-in-law, Emile Petit in 1973.
With much hard work he now has control of about 180 hectares, part of which is 'en fermage' (25-year rental agreements). Brocard has gradually become one of the leading lights of Chablis and has been supplying The Society for many years with many wines including The Society's Chablis and Exhibition Chablis Premier Cru. Despite being a very good businessman, this self-made man also has a great feel and intuitive understanding for the land, in which he was greatly influenced by a friend and mentor called Petit Louis, and has a profound, almost spiritual, belief in how to look after it and allow the terroir to express itself.
Since 2012 Jean-Marc has handed over day-to-day control of the vineyards and business to his son Julien, who earned his stripes after successfully trialling biodynamic viticulture in the Boissonneuse vineyard, producing wonderful wine from this vineyard. He is now converting all the vineyards of the estate to this method of cultivation. They produce wine from their own vineyards, some 'en fermage' as well as from bought-in grapes.
The house style has been for maturation in stainless steel as the delicate aromas of Chablis are easily masked by barrels less than four years old. The winery itself is extremely impressive; built in stages from 1980, it houses stainless steel temperature-controlled fermentation vats to accentuate the purity and freshness of the wines. But they have had great success with foudres (large oak barrels) for certain wines, such as Les Clos and are trialling concrete 'egg'-shaped vats.
After years of experimentation, all wines will be bottled with Diam corks or screw caps from the 2012 vintage onwards. These closures best protect the wine during its maturation in bottle. The Brocard range of Chablis to be found in these tanks includes a Vieilles Vignes cuvée which is often exceptional, and the aforementioned La Boissoneuse. Premier Cru examples include Vaucoupin, Vaulorent and Mont de Milieu while the grands crus include Les Clos and Valmur.