Domaine Hervé Azo
Like many a good story, Hervé Azo’s began with love-at-first-sight. When this native Breton left his high-powered job in Paris to work the harvest in Chablis in the early 1970s, he never returned. Captivated by his new-found home, he began to slowly acquire vineyard land—at the time, only a fraction of the astronomical value that it is today. The property now encompasses 12 hectares of vineyards; nine of which are located on the premier cru slopes around the village of Milly. The soils here are as pedigree as they come, with the Chablis and premier cru vineyards rooted to the famous Kimmeridgian limestone, rich in prehistoric fossils, and the Petit Chablis from the Portlandian limestone just outside the limits of classic Chablis. In 2004, with his daughters partaking in other careers, Hervé transitioned the domaine into the capable hands of Jean-Marc Brocard, whose family has a strong viticultural legacy in Chablis. Jean-Marc has kept the domaine intact, with the vineyards being transitioned to organic farming since 2006. The Brocards keep yields low at an average of 45 hl/ha.
Every attempt has been made to remain true to the original, purist house style that the Azos spent so much time and effort creating. Using only native yeasts, the grapes are pressed gently by pneumatic press, and are fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel vats to retain the classic mineral qualities of Chablis. The wines are then bottled unfined yet lightly filtered, and left to rest. After a couple of years in the bottle, the wines begin to blossom and flesh out. The nose takes on the buttery, yeasty aromas which true connoisseurs look for from French Chardonnay. In fact, historically, the wines from Chablis were never sold until they had been in the bottle at least three years. Only then, when the wines lost their youthful, citrus qualities were they deemed suited for the market.