Friday, December 6, 2013
Pure Chablis – A tête-à-tête Dinner in Washington DC at Marcel’s with Chablis Wine Board President and Winemaker Jean-François Bordet, Domaine Séguinot-Bordet, USA/France
Jean-François Bordet owns and runs Domaine Séguinot-Bordet, a Chablis estate. Until the end of the year, he also has the job of President of the Chablis Wine Board, which includes representing the wines of Chablis on marketing tours around the world. In that function, Jean-François Bordet visited LA and Washington DC in November 2013, with Françoise Roure, Marketing and Communication Manager of the Bureau Interprofessional des Vins de Bourgogne. Several events took place in Washington DC. I was privileged to be able to attend a tête-à-tête Chablis Dinner in Washington DC at Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Marcel’s. Other wine writers around the table included David White, Frank Morgan and Dave McIntyre. We tasted 6 Chablis from different producers, ranging from a Chablis AOC to 2 Chablis Grands Crus. Jean-François Bordet and Françoise Roure shared their passion and knowledge about the rich history of the region and expertly guide us through the pairing of each course.
Chablis is part of the Bourgogne wine region, one of the most famous wine regions in the world, but wines from Chablis are usually referred to by their own name. Chablis is up in the north, a separate wine region. Some way south of Chablis is the Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous wines originate. All Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are here. The Côte d'Or is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits in the north and the Côte de Beaune in the south. The wine-growing area is just 40 kilometers long, and in most places less than 2 kilometers wide; the area is made up of tiny villages. Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where a mix of mostly red and white wines are produced. Below the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing easy-drinking and more affordable white wine. Further south again is the Beaujolais region. The Bourgogne (including Chablis but excluding Beaujolais) covers a total of 28,000 hectares.
Burgundy is the most terroir-oriented region in France. Immense attention is paid to the area of origin, as opposed to Bordeaux, where classifications are producer-driven and awarded to individual chateaux. In Burgungy, a specific vineyard or region will bear a given classification, regardless of the wine producer.
The main levels in the Chablis classifications, in descending order of quality, are:
(1) At the top of the classification are the Grand Cru vineyards, which are all located on a single hillside near the town of Chablis. The Grand Cru vineyards cover a 106 hectare area, made up of 7 “Climats” (Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur and Vaudersir) and account for around 3% of Chablis’ production.
(2) Second in quality are the Premier Cru vineyards, covering an area of 750 hectares, gathered together into 40 “Climats”.
(3) Next is the generic AOC Chablis, the largest appellation.
(4) At the lowest end of the classification is Petit Chablis, which comprises the outlying land.
Chablis wines are almost all Chardonnay, bone-dry and fresh, with good acidity. Compared with the whites from the rest of Burgundy, Chablis tends to have much less influence of oak. Typically, Chablis is completely unoaked, vinified in stainless steel tanks, although many Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines receive some maturation in oak barrels. But aging time in the barrel and the share of new wood tends to be much smaller than for white wines of the Cote d’Or.
Domaine Séguinot-Bordet dates from 1590, having been passed down through the generations until now, with Jean-François Bordet in control, who took over from his grandfather. Jean-Francois Bordet has established his own name after an apprenticeship with his grandfather. Whereas most of his vineyards are Petit Chablis or Chablis, he is lucky enough to own a slice of Fourchaume, felt by many to be the finest of the Premier Cru vineyards.
The wines are made in a modern winery, with vinification in stainless steel vats to preserve freshness. Jean-François places particular emphasis on obtaining the best fruit possible, through careful pruning, debudding and harvesting. Jean-François Bordet practices cool fermentation and allows his wines to mature for 3-5 months on their lees; this maximizes the contact and promotes a luscious style to the wines.
Jean-François Bordet makes 10,000 cases of wine.
Washingtonian: “Robert Wiedmaier’s dark-lit Foggy Bottom restaurant—the fanciest in his collection of Belgian-inspired eateries—is notorious for above-and-beyond service (there’s a complimentary car service to and from the Kennedy Center), but throwback formalities are a sideshow that shouldn’t distract from the main event: the creations that emerge from the semi-open kitchen.
From deeply layered vegetable soups such as asparagus or wild mushroom to an alluring gâteau of chocolate and passionfruit, the well-paced dishes are exquisitely delicious—so much so that while they can all be ordered à la carte, we encourage you to go all out on a tasting menu of four to seven courses. The helpful staffers are refreshingly frank—ask them to point you to the night’s best (and worst) dishes.”
The dinner was prepared by Chef Paul Stearman, who has led the Marcel’s team for a number of years. Here is what he prepared:
Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleon
Gratin of Wianno Oysters
Diver Scallop Tartine
Filet of Turbot, Wild Mushroom Risotto
The Wines Served
Todd M. Godbout from the Wine Compass Blog has already issued excellent tasting notes, which I am re-issuing here: Learning about Chablis - the Wine and Region - with Pure Chablis
Note that Todd M. Godbout attended a different event; while the food was different, the same wines were served.
La Piereleé 2011
Chablis Premier Cru
Chablis Premier Cru
Domaine Louis Moreau
Chablis Premier Cru
Les Fourneaux 2010
Chablis Grand Cru
Domaine Christian Moreau
Chablis Grand Cru
Todd M. Godbout: “We started with the La Chablisienne Chablis La Pierrelée 2011 ($23). La Chablisienne is an old cooperative, started in 1923, and accounts for one quarter of the region's wine production (10 million bottles). This wine is a cuvée sourced from grapes grown throughout the region fermented in stainless steel and aged on lees in tank. The result is a light wine - not powerful - but displaying finesse with a lychee aroma, a green apple flavor and fresh acidity finish.
The next was Mr. Bordet's wine, the Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Premier Cru Fourchume 2010 ($35). The domaine is located on the right bank, far north corner of Chablis around the hamlet of Maligny. Jean-François is the 13th generation winemaker and this is the oldest continually operating winery in Chablis - that's 1590 for those counting. Now that's some history. Interestingly, he practiced winemaking in Michigan - learning about Riesling and Gewurtztraminer. When he returned home in 1998, he became the youngest winemaker in Chablis accompanied by his grandfather who was the oldest. The Premier Cru Fourchume is at once elegant and intense with a fresh lychee aroma, an iodine earthy mid, and a long refreshing finish. This is one quality wine - very nice.
The Premier Crus kept coming with the Simonnet Febvre Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2010 ($30) and the Louis Moreau Chablis Premier Cru Les Fourneaux 2009 ($27). The second seemed a bigger wine, more structure with vanilla notes, but both displayed the fresh acidic finish. Two notes, the Simonnet Febvre is a left bank wine whereas the Louis Moreau is a right bank produced by a two hundred year old domaine.
We finished the afternoon with a Grand Cru - the Domaine Servin Chablis Grand Cru Blanchots 2011 ($45). There are only seven Grands Cru producers in Chablis and the Domaine Servin right bank vines face east-west - giving more morning sun exposure. The result is more fruit (this is also a rare unoaked Grand Cru), less minerality, and even less acidity - as compared to the others. Despite the un-Chablis style - this wine is impressive. Probably my second favorite behind the Séguinot-Bordet. Cheers to Chablis and a hearty thanks to Pure Chablis.”
Thanks Jean-François Bordet, Sommelier Moez Ben Achour and Chef Paul Stearman for a great evening with wines of Chablis.
schiller-Wine: Related Postings
Meeting Matthieu Mangenot, Managing Director of Domaine Long-Depaquit in Chablis, France and Tasting His Wines
Caroline Parent-Gros Presented the Wines of Domaine A-F Gros in the Bourgogne at Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s Range in Washington DC
The Premium Soliste Wines of Former Famous Chef and Now Famous Winemaker Claude Koeberle and the Great Food of Chef Patrick Bazin at Bazin’s on Church in Northern Virginia, USA
The Roots of Oregon Winemaker Chris Berg, the Art of Paul Klee, the Wine House of Michael Pearce and the Nice Legs of Al McCosh
Sylvain Bzikot's Puligny Montrachet, Bourgogne, France
Puligny Montrachet Winemaker Dinner with Sylvain Bzikot, Domaine Bzikot Pere et Fils, at Jacques Imperato’s Mediterannee Restaurant in Northern Virginia, USA
Meeting Gregoire Pissot – the Winemaker at Cave de Lugny in the Maconnais – in Washington DC, USA/France
Dinner at Restaurant Chateau de la Barge in Creches sur Saone in Burgundy, France
Tablas Creek Wines from Paso Robles and Belgian Food at Brasserie Beck with Tablas Greek GM Jason Haas and Chef Robert Wiedmaier in Washington DC, USA