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Firm, concentrated Chablis with a broad palate which is taut and fresh. This was fermented 90% in stainless steel tanks to capture the freshness of the wine while 10% was fermented in large foudres to open up the flavours without marking it with oak flavour. This is truly excellent with seafood and poultry but also most cheeses, including the bloomy rinded variety that plays havoc with most reds. Its fresh acidity is a fine foil to gammon too. Ideally decant 10 minutes before serving, if possible at 11-13°C.
Product Code: BU76021
View all products by Jean-Marc and Julien Brocard
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 gaining organic certification and 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 Le 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 Le Clos and Valmur.
Though it is nominally a region of Burgundy there are several factors that make Chablis a quite distinct wine style from its southerly neighbours. The first is distance, the vineyards here being more than sixty miles north of Beaune and separated from the rest of Burgundy by the Morvan Hills. The second is the soil which defines the amphitheatre of hills upon which the best sites lie. The Kimmeridgian clay, which the French call argilo-calcaire, is packed with marine fossils, which in this area sits atop limestone. Finally, and crucially, the climate is considered semi-continental, with no real maritime influence, and where winters are hard and very cold and summers generally hot. One of the biggest risks facing Chablis growers is frost which is a regular and damaging visitor. It is one of the key factors in determining how much wine will be made in any given vintage and most growers go to extraordinary lengths to protect their vines every spring, including heaters among the vines and a spray system that coats the buds with water. The measures taken have meant that life for a Chablis vigneron is not quite the lottery it used to be, though there is much vintage variation still.Chardonnay is the only permitted variety, though there are two schools of thought on how to treat it in the winemaking. Some seek the purest expression of the terroir and the fruit, emphasising the steely, mineral qualities, while others believe that a dash of oak after fermentation can add layers of flavour and complexity to the wine. Most producers eschew oak, and those that do use new barrels rarely use it without restraint.As with the rest of Burgundy, a hierarchy exists to demarcate the best vineyards. Seven Grand Cru vineyards have been registered, all on the south-west facing slopes of the valley of the Serein river. Below this level are 40 Premiers Cru sites. The area that is permitted to produce Chablis AC and some Premiers Crus has expanded in recent decades, as frost damage has been contained, and this has caused some controversy despite arguments that the land newly planted was once Premiers Cru before phylloxera constricted the land under vine.The local cooperative makes about a third of all Chablis, though more and more growers who were once committed to the co-op are now making wine for themselves, which has also led to a concomitant reduction in the number négociants.
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