Editor’s note: As 2014 drew to a close, I reflected on my favorite wines of the year. First read my introduction (which also contains the list of wines), then follow along as I publish notes on ten wines that taught me something new. Here’s Number Ten:
2003 Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru “Bougros” en magnum
13% abv | About $120 for 750 ml (sample tasted at the winery)
My husband and I tasted nineteen wines at Brocard’s winery this past July. It was my first opportunity to taste a single producer’s bottlings in a single vintage across Chablis’s Grand Cru slope—a chance to taste terroir.
We tasted wine from five of the seven Grand Crus vineyards, plus several at the levels of Premier Cru and Village. Wines were variously minerally or steely, herbaceous or racy, floral, citrusy, flinty. I plan to publish a full article on my Brocard tasting, because it was rich and instructive, full of lessons. For now, here’s just one:
Of the seven Grand Crus vineyards overlooking the town of Chablis, Bougros is the westernmost, hugging an elbow of the Serein River as it slips northwest to join the Yonne. The soil here, as in the other Grand Cru climats, is Kimmeridgian, rich in clay and fossilized shells. But the wines from this part of the slope tend to be softer and fruitier. Brocard’s 2011 Bougros was highly perfumed, redolent of lily and green plums, and a lovely blush of springtime flowers.
At the end of our long tasting, and as a test, our guide poured us a final taste of a new wine, blind, from magnum, then looked at us and smiled.
This wine was floral, with lavender and lily. Honeyed secondary notes lent depth and complexity. Wines age more slowly in magnum than in 750 ml bottles, and this wine’s freshness and brilliance suggested it had many years ahead of it. Still, it seemed to be perhaps a decade older than the wines in our tasting. And it seemed to be the Bougros.
A test, an answer, the reveal, the celebratory toast. And then we all went to lunch.
The Lesson: Chablis is one of the most glorious wines on earth. Aged Chablis is even better.
Here’s to more lessons in 2015.