Bio-dynamic Chablis by Brocard, naturally…
More From: Curious Wines
Posted February 2nd, 2009 by Matt Kane
Following on from our pre-Christmas post (Lunar Organic the Next Craze?) and the addition of the glorious new wines to our list, it’s fitting to look at a newbie that practices bio-dynamic farming. Not quite hocus pocus potions, monthly moon cycles or religious sacrifices, but a method that utilises the principles of organic farming.
Jean-Marc Brocard’s Vielle Vignes was pouring white wine on Concorde for around 10 years. He’s a man that truly believes that the quality of his wine comes from the uniqueness of the vineyard’s soil and geographical position, but it is his son, Julian, who has been the real advocate for bio-dynamic farming.
Bio-dynamics is a systems approach where the farm is viewed as a living whole, in which each farm activity will have a knock on effect upon natural processes within the vineyard. Here are just three examples of bio-dynamic techniques:
- Introduction of predators to vary grazing patterns and reduce pasture borne parasites
- Recycling of organic wastes, where possible, by large scale composting
- Use of bio-dynamic sprays to stimulate biological activity in the soil
The Brocard vineyards are proudly herbicide and pesticide-free, thanks to this natural policy. Furthermore the winemaking is carried out in full respect of the Chablis traditions with the use of stainless steel tanks, and to add a modern twist, use of the latest and most modern computerised vinification techniques.
Chablis wines take their world famous mineral and fresh character from the vine’s roots, which dig deep into the subsoil, consisting of limestone, clay and marine fossils. Many believe that only in Chablis can the Chardonnay grape produce wines of such finesse.
With very limited external inputs and the recycling of animal waste, I believe the most tangible benefit of bio-dynamic farming is the low impact on the environment. It also provides an economical way of farming in which most of the costs are met at the time they are incurred, thus offering a solution to conflicts between economics and the environment.
As for the wine itself, there’s no doubt that the Brocard Petit Chablis is classic Chablis Chardonnay – deliciously pure, delicate with good fruit, minerality and the perfect balance. Whether that’s a result of bio-dynamic farming techniques or the Burgundy ‘terrior’ on which it is grown, that’s up to the consumer to decide. I would tend to believe that the soil and the winemaking has the last say, although I’m very open to the idea that organic wine adds a little something extra, even if it is just in my head. What it certainly won’t do is cause us any harm, and if it helps the environment in the process, then I’m all for it.