As usual, most of the Brocard family, including enologist Clothide Davenne, were on hand to talk about the most recent vintage and their various new projects. In particular, Brocard's son Julien, who is in charge of viticulture for the domaine, is enthusiastically driving to convert the vineyards to biodynamic farming, noting that "we presently have 35 of our 135 ha farmed this way and we hope to have the rest converted over the next 5 to 7 years." Additionally, as noted above under Domaine Azo, the Brocard family has purchased it outright. As to the 2004 vintage, Brocard told me that they waited until October 3rd to begin picking. "The second half of July and virtually all of August were overcast and gloomy with an absence of both the necessary heat and luminosity to really ripen the grapes adequately. Thanks to a superb September however, the grapes rapidly ripened and while we probably could have begun picking on the ban de vendange (declared September 29th), we decided to push our luck and wait a few more days. We were rewarded with sugars that ranged from 11.5 to 12.5% and near perfect acidities. Yields were generous after the tiny 2003 harvest, coming in between 60 and 70 hl/ha. While perhaps not ideal, this is a level for chardonnay that can still provide for excellent quality provided that you don't press too hard. We pressed gently and because of a fairly severe attack of oidium, which we managed to contain, we still decided that it was best to do a longer débourbage than usual to avoid any contamination. I quite like the vintage because it has plenty of classic Chablis character and excellent balance, which should permit the wines to age very well over the medium term." The Brocard '04s offer much to like and for those who love classically styled Chablis, these will not disappoint. The present plan is to bottle between July and November.
As an aside, Brocard is emphatically in the no oak camp as almost 100% stainless steel is used from start to finish (though a few wines see a bit of oak) and this approach seems to have been particularly successful in 2003. The Domaine Sainte-Claire designation is used to indicate a 15th Century church that is directly adjacent to the state-of-the-art winery.