Domaine Jean-Claude Courtault – Chablis

I met Jean-Claude’s daughter Stéphanie at a tasting organised by the association “Femmes et Vins de Bourgogne” (women and wine in Burgundy) and promised I would visit the estate in Chablis.

Although Stéphanie was in Paris, I was met by Jean-Claude himself and his charming wife Marie-Chantal. The first thing I noticed was the modern winery and the professional welcome by the man who started it all back in 1984. Jean-Claude represents a self-made, self-styled “vigneron”, who still does everything on the estate, when his daughter and son-in-law Vincent Michelet are called away.

Jean-Claude is originally from the Touraine region and he came to Burgundy back in the 70’s as a winemaker for an established estate. JC wisely invested in vineyard plots whenever the came available -even if they were spread out – and the estate now boasts 17 hectares (40 acres).
His ability to get the best from his vineyards has meant that Jean-Claude has received many awards from prestigious competitions: Guide Hachette, Concours de Paris, Macon etc.

The estate has three of the four appellations: Petit Chablis, Chablis Village and 1er Crus. The inimitable style of Jean-Claude is that of a Chablis that retains its typical style but with a touch of fruit that makes them very well balanced.

Although a reserved man at first glance, Jean-Claude warms up as the tasting progresses and admits that today is his birthday…so out comes his favourite 2006 vintage, magnum format, and we raise our glasses to a special man on a special day. As if pre-planned Jean-Claude receives a call from his daughter Stephanie in Paris to wish him a happy birthday.

Back to the 2006 vintage – a pure delight – which will not be wasted as Jean-Claude will savour the remaining precious drops with Marie-Chantal during dinner that evening.

His Chablis are known for their freshness and citrus side when young, but become fuller and more complex with age…which Jean-Claude prefers.
Take a special look at his 1er crus Beauroy and Mont de Milieu.
When evoking the future, Jean-Claude admits that Vincent and Stephanie are well on the way to assuming total responsibility. Although I don’t think Jean-Claude is ready to give anything up totally yet.

Next I’ll be interviewing Stephanie and Vincent to see what the next generation’s objectives are.

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