The village of Préhy, Jean-Marc Brocard has steadily built up one of the top domaines in the region, on the foundation of a quality-focused approach from the bottom to the top. And his son Julien is now taking things further, with the adoption of biodynamic viticultue.
Jean-Marc Brocard is one of the key players in Chablis, but his empire has been built from the bottom up. He started with 1.5 hectares of vines from his wife’s family in the Auxerre area. His parents were farmers, attached to the earth, not to wine, and they didn’t want their son to be a farmer too. So they sent him to study industrial design.
But he learned wine at the side of his father in law, and grew to love the land – especially the soils of Chablis. This was a time when vineyard acquisition was a possibility, so through the 1980s and 90s he bought and rented parcels of vines (he bought his first parcel in Prehy in 1973). This was the same time when Michel Laroche, William Fevre and Christian Moreau were also building their vineyard holdings.
These days, Brocard has 215 hectares of vines to play with, and also buys in must and grapes from other producers. All the winemaking is done at the Brocard winery in Prehy. Brocard is still family owned and Jean-Marc’s son, Julien, is now the CEO.
I visited with winemaker Odile Van de Moere. She’s keen to pay a lot of attention to the vineyards, trying to keep the qualities of each plot. For this reason, the cellar is kitted out with lots of different tanks so they can keep the plots separate.
Julien started in 1998 and brought in a new vision for the vineyards: organics and biodynamics. He was the first to practice biodynamics in Chablis, in the year he joined. Now there are 88 hectares in organic, with 55 hectares certified.
The large cellar is kitted out with a nice selection of vessels, including large foudres and some concrete, used for the premier and grand crus. There’s also a lot of stainless steel. We tasted through a range of the top wines from foudre and concrete, from the 2018 vintage. This is looking very promising. I also tasted from bottle. The Julien Brocard range, which is biodynamic, is particularly impressive.
Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis 2018
Stainless steel. Bright, focused and lively with a hint of creaminess and focused lemony fruit. Juicy and taut with good acidity. 88/100
Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 2018
Prehy and Courgis. Conventional farming. Nice weight and concentration with lovely focused lemony fruit, as well as some green apple and pear. Classic with a slight mineral twist and some white flower characters. Has some concentration and personality. Very pure. 91/100
Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Vieilles Vignes de Sainte Claire 2018
70 year old vines, and the roots reach down 25 m, apparently. Organic farming. Quite taut and complex with some citrus fruit as well as slight hints of dried herbs and cabbage. Taut and detailed with brisk acidity and a nice tension. 92/100
Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2017
Two-thirds inox, one-third foudre. Complex with some nutty, mealy notes and a creamy dairy kick. There’s a buttery edge to the linear citrus and pear fruit with a touch of white peach. I find the dairy notes a bit strong here. 89/100
Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Vau de Vey 2017
Half foudre half inox. Subtle creamy edge to the bright citrus and pear fruit. Quite fleshy with ripe, quite exotic peachy hints, coupled with zesty citrus notes. Has a sense of harmony and warmth, with a twist of baked apple richness. 91/100
Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2017
Full yellow colour. 100% foudre. Complex stuff. Quite deep in colour with powerful peach and spice notes over a citrus base, showing hints of marmalade and orange peel. Lovely concentration with exotic ripe fruit and beautiful acidity, with precision and a long lemony, spicy finish. 94/100
Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent 2017
Just behind Preuses. 100% foudres. Powerful, spicy and intense with good concentration to the rich peach and pear fruit. Has nice depth and concentration, showing some marmalade notes and also a bit of nuttiness. This has great intensity with good acidity under the rich fruit. Brilliant stuff. 95/100
Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Bougros 2017
100% foudre. Hints of toast and honey on the nose, as well as apricots and lemons. The palate shows great concentration with rich pear and peach, as well as fresh lemon and grapefruit. Generous and broad, but with a lovely acid line. Great intensity here, finishing with vivid acidity. 95/100
Julien Brocard Chablis Boissonneuse 2017
Biodynamic. 100% Foudres. Rich pear and peach fruit with a hint of cabbage and some spice. The palate is very concentrated, crystalline and mineral with real impact. Has astonishing intensity for a Chablis, and it’s kept focus with high acidity and a mineral core. Immense potential here. 95/100
Julien Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaudevey 2017
Biodynamic. 100% Foudres. Complex, taut and intense with very fine citrussy acidity supporting compact lemony fruit with great precision. Fine herbal notes interweave with the dense fruit, which shows apricot and mango richness. So fine with amazing potential. 96/100
Julien Brocard Côte de Léchet 2017
Biodynamic. 100% Foudres. Great concentration to the pear and peach fruit here, with some grapefruit and lemon richness. Very dense and expressive with real energy to the fruit. Subtle nutty complexity, and a long, linear, expanding lemony finish. Brilliant wine. 95/100
Julien Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2017
Biodynamic. Rich yet taut with complex citrus, pear and peach notes. Has great concentration with some fruit sweetness and notes of nut, toast and caramel adding some depth to the mineral citrus fruit. A very intense expression of Chablis, but holds its nerve. Lovely. 95/100
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