2007 Brocard Chablis
Oddly enough, during the holidays, when red wines tend to be more appropriate, there is one style of the Chardonnay grape which I prefer in white wines. This is the “true” French Chablis style, a version that is very different from the California citrus or oak styles. French Chablis is often described as flinty, or having a mineral or even metallic taste. It is very dry, no doubt about that!
True Chablis as in some ways gone out of fashion in America as so many white wine drinkers have migrated towards the more mellow California styles, and even towards sweeter white wines such as Rieslings. When US drinkers want a drier wine, they often also go for something lighter, such as Chenen Blanc. For that reason, it actually has become difficult to find many Chablis choices, and you will probably have to visit a wine merchant or grocer with a serious wine department to find any.
I got this particular bottle, the 2007 Jean-Marc Brocard Vieille Vignes (which essentially means is a blend of several vineyards in the village of Vignes, rather than estate grown) at West Point Market, where there was a small but carefully chosen selection. For a decent true French Chablis, you should expect to pay between $25 and $100 a bottle, and this one came in at the mid-low range priced at $37.
It was everything I expect in great Chablis, however. It shows flint, steel, and a touch of lemon in a well-balanced wine that not only compliments shellfish, the traditional food for Chablis, but other white meats such as turkey and chicken, when served without rich sauces or highly seasoned side dishes. The Brocard operation is also almost completely organic, using no herbicides nor pesticides, and manure instead of fertilizer. As a result, this winery expresses the chalky limestone soil of the region in a very pure form. Very little of the wine is oak aged, so what you are tasting is the real taste of Chardonnay grapes grown in this unique micro-climate.