Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard
Jean-Marc Brocard learnt about working in the vineyard from Emile Petit, his father-in-law, and «P’tit» Louis, a distant relative. These two people shared all their knowledge and experience on the art of vinegrowing and winemaking with him. It is all about balance. It is a harmony between over four centuries of accumulated knowledge and the vision of the young Jean-Marc Brocard.
In 1973 Jean-Marc settled in Préhy and built his own cellars in the middle of the vineyards. After years of hard work and many visitors to the Domaine the high quality of Jean-Marc Brocard’s wines is recognised throughout France and the global market.
Jean-Marc was born into a very modest existence in a small village called Chaudenay-le-Château in the famed Côte d’Or of Burgundy, perhaps the most famous and best wine growing region in the world. Jean-Marc’s father was a farmer, and at that time just as it is today, the land was very expensive and grapes were very difficult to come by. Only the famed families of Burgundy who had done so for generations were able to craft wines from the gentle slopes and chalky soils that made Burgundy such a perfect spot for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A sort of economic caste system kept the fortune with the fortunate and the farmers in the fields.
Jean-Marc had fallen in love with a girl from a little town in Chablis, the most northerly wine-growing area of Burgundy. His childhood sweetheart Claudine happened to be the daughter of a vigneron in Chablis by the name of Emile Petit. As a wedding present to the young couple, Emile bestowed upon them one hectare of vines (about 2.5 acres) near the Church of Sainte Claire, and in 1972 Domaine Brocard was born.
From the very first vintage in 1973 Jean-Marc set out to create a wine that was true to the unique qualities, history and tradition of Chablis. Jean-Marc spent countless hours with the old vignerons of Chablis in an effort to master his new craft, and to learn the nuances of the vine. These men, the old guard as it were, gave Jean-Marc a unique perspective on how to approach the vine. He learned that he needed to respect the old traditions as well as the natural world in which they were implemented. He learned that great winemaking could be achieved only through the balance of the old and the new, the natural and the mechanical, and the physical and the spiritual.
In the time since Domaine Brocard has grown from one hectare of vines to over one hundred. Jean-Marc sources from some of the very oldest and most famous vineyards in Chablis, an area long known to be the favorite of French Kings and aristocrats as well as the everyday public alike. His connection to the land and to nature have always been at the forefront of his winemaking style, perhaps as a tribute to the farming heritage in his blood. Through this Jean-Marc uses no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides in his vineyards. They have been certified organic since 2004 and most are farmed using biodynamic principals as well.
Nowadays Jean-Marc is gradually handing over the company to his son, Julien, a qualified engineer whose passion for and fresh outlook on the vine and its environment has brought another aspect of vinegrowing to Préhy. An advocate of biodynamic culture, he applies its principles to the soil, the vines and the cellar.
We place the vine at the heart of its environment and use preparations made from beneficial plants to stimulate its immune system. The work in the vineyards and in the cellars is carried out according to the lunar cycle.
The principles of biodynamic and organic culture are applied to the majority of our vineyards. We continue our work always with the aim of improving the quality of our products.
The wonderful terroir of the Chablis vineyard
Located near Auxerre city, in the valley of the Serein River, Chablis is the center of one of France’s eldest wine-growing regions.
150 million years ago, during the Jurassic era, the sea drew back from the Chablis area. It let a lot of small sea sediments –Exogyra virgula – in the soil called Kimméridgien made up of layers of stones and clay. Thanks to this soil, the roots of the vine will get the specific mineral and salty flavours of Chablis wines.
Thanks to eco-friendly methods, Jean-Marc Brocard is still trying to respect this precious terroir in order to make high quality wines.
“Our policy is to encourage the natural auto-immune system of the vine,” says Jean-Marc in reference to the lack of chemicals in the vineyards. “Ploughing replaces herbicides and a good dose of well-rotted cow manure encourages the natural microbial activity of the soil.” Contrary to popular belief the vines have actually become healthier and more disease resistant in the time that they have been farmed organically.
The Chablis is a very pure chardonnay which, since more than thousands of year, benefits of an important know-how and find its recognizable by his inimitable and iodized mineral character expression. Jean-Marc Brocard wanted to reveal values and symbols which are the inspiration source for the wines. The mains symbols are the four naturals elements: earth, water, air and fire; all punctuated by lunar cycles. The kimmeridgian soil dates from the Jurassic era (150 millions of years), it forms a dynamic with Chardonnay and gives us a singular product: Chablis.
“The truth of wine lies in the soil where it has grown,” says Jean-Marc’s son Julien who is now the vineyard manager for the Domaine. “The technique is an important factor in the wine growing but it is only an aid, the wine is essentially a product of its soil.”
It is through this philosophy that Jean-Marc chooses to harvest and vinify separately each parcel of vines with which he works so that the true expression of the soil and its affect on the vines may be put on display. He also uses no oak whatsoever either in the fermentation or aging periods of the winemaking process. Again, the intent is to put the amazing fruit and soil of Chablis on a pedestal for all the world to see the clarity, nuance and complexity found within.
Jean-Marc Brocard applies to respect nature;
– The ladybird symbolizes the desire to grow grapes in organic farming to offer our children a rich and healthy land.
– The final spiral that grows form a small twig that evolves to the ammonite represent infinite and eternity.
– The ammonite is a spiral fossil like a snail that we can find when plowing out of the ground.
All these symbols appears along animation interlaced with the grapevine growth stages : “green tip”, “2 to 3 leaves separated”, “Flowering”, “Berries pea size”, “Bunch closure” and, finally, “Berries ripe”.
Wines are matured with love and exigency to offer you the strength and the charm of the nature.