Chablis is one of the world’s classic wine regions, based around the pretty village of the same name. Its fame has drawn the attention of large conglomerate winemakers hopeful of cashing in, but it is small independent winemakers like Jean-Francois Bordet that are the heart and soul of the region.
The domaine dates back to 1590 and Jean-Francois took over the mantle from his grandfather having worked in the vineyards as soon as he finished school. His 28hectares is spread throughout the region and some of the vines are over 78 years old.
Jean-Francois places particular emphasis on obtaining the best fruit possible. He often harvests quite a bit later than his neighbours, gambling with the rains to achieve greater ripeness in his grapes. He also carries out battonage (the stirring of the lees during maturation of the wine), a process that gifts his wines with their tell-tale body and luscious style.
Aside from his obvious skill as a winemaker, we were drawn to his proletarian spirit. He dismissed the notion that it is only the premier and grand cru Chablis that winemakers pay attention to saying, "You have to make the less expensive wines every bit as well because these are the wines most people can afford. The other wines are great but these matter just as much."