Eleni and Edouard Vocoret at Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret in Chablis, Burgundy.

our parcels. Four wines. That’s it. The Chablis domaine run by Eleni and Edouard Vocoret is something completely different from the family domaine founded in 1870. While Domaine Vocoret & Fils covers 50 hectares, Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret only reaches a tenth of that, five hectares.

– The philosophy is not at all the same, says Edouard Vocoret. We are not organic, but that is the direction we are moving in. Over the years the family domaine has obviously changed. There is less weedkillers, more ploughing now. But we do not have the same perspective. Not in the vineyard, nor in the cellar.

Chablis, Montmains, Burgundy.You’ll find Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret in the southeastern part of Chablis, in one of the last buildings along the road towards Chichée. But this isn’t where it started. Eleni and Edouard met in New Zealand back in 2010 while working at Allan Scott Wines in the Marlborough region.

– Neither of my parents were working with wine, explains Eleni Vocoret. I grew up in Germany. My mother is German. My father comes from a small village in Greece. He’s from a family of farmers. They made some wine as well, but just for their own everyday drinking.

Initially Eleni’s plan was to make wine in Greece together with her brother, Christos Christian Theodoropoulos, but that project never saw the light of day. She was going to deal with the business side of their operation, since that was what she was trained for.

Chablis vineyards, Burgundy.– But if I was going to sell the wine I felt it would be good to know how it is made, she says. I went to Austria to learn about winemaking. When I was there I realised that it was much more fun making the wine than selling it. My brother and I also realised that it would be too complicated to have something set up in Greece. He now runs a small domaine in the Mittelrhein, Weingut Lithos.

After New Zealand Eleni and Edouard did some travelling together and in the end the two ended up in Chablis.

– We did the harvest at the family domaine, says Edouard Vocoret. I stayed on at the domaine for a while and Eleni worked for Vincent Dauvissat and Nathalie Oudin. Then, in 2012 we took on some vineyards from my family. Our first vintage was in 2013.

– In the beginning we just had a small garage which we got from Edouard’s grandfather, continues Eleni. All we had was four enamel tanks. We sold a lot ”en vrac”, because we didn’t have the space. Or the clients, for that matter.

Eleni and Edouard Vocoret at Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret in Chablis, Burgundy.The portfolio at Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret consists of three village Chablis bottlings and one premier cru.

– Most other growers would have blended all the village appellation wine, making one single cuvée, says Edouard Vocoret. Instead, we have chosen to turn each of our vineyards into a cuvée. One parcel, one cuvée, is the principle.

Two of the village appellation parcels – En Boucheran and Les Pargues – are both on the left bank of the Serein, close to the premier crus Montmains and Vaillons. The Serein is the river which runs through the Chablis vineyards. The third village appellation parcel – Le Bas de Chapelot – is on the right bank, not very far from the grand crus. The name gives us a more exact location. Chapelot is one of the four climats which make up the premier cru Montée de Tonnerre. Le Bas de Chapelot, the lower part of Chapelot, is not classified as premier cru, but is located right below.

Chablis, Montmains, Burgundy.– We have three hectares in Le Bas de Chapelot, so it’s basically two thirds of the domaine, says Edouard Vocoret. Chapelot is white clay and marl. Le Bas de Chapelot is the old riverbed of the Serein. The soil is deeper in Le Bas de Chapelot. The clay is darker, but it is still light in colour by Burgundian standards.

Before 1980 Le Bas de Chapelot was not planted at all. It was just fields. All vineyards at Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret are of respectable age. The premier cru vines were planted in 1956 and the rest in the 1980s and 1990s.

– We are lucky to have all our vineyards within the original Chablis area, says Edouard Vocoret. We don’t have vineyards in Préhy or Beine. This means it’s easier to work, when everything is close, but there is a danger to it was well. Like in 2015, when we had hail just before the harvest. The hail destroyed everything for us.

At Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret everything is harvested by hand. From the vineyard all the grapes are loaded directly into the pneumatic press. The work in the winery is done by gravity. Both the malolactic and the alcoholic fermentation take place in stainless steel tanks.

Chablis seen from Le Bas de Chapelot.– We don’t want the fermentation in barrels, explains Edouard Vocoret. We like to preserve the Chablis character, the minerality. After the fermentation the wines undergo élevage in barrels during a year.

– We only use old barrels, says Eleni Vocoret. The youngest is five years. The oldest is from 1986, so it has the same age as Edouard. We are not after the taste of oak, just the benefit the wood brings with micro-oxidation and élevage in small volumes.

En Boucheran is in the valley between Vaillons and Montmains. It is just below the latter, facing east.

– There are three different veins of clay in En Boucheran, says Edouard Vocoret. The part bordering on Montmains is an old quarry. Soil has been removed. You have big holes in the ground. The next part consists of clay, the kind you use for pottery. Very sticky. Beneath the clay, 30–40 centimetres down, you have oyster shells. The lower part of En Boucheran is flatter. The soil is deeper and colluvial soil from the Vallée de Valvan.

Chablis vineyards, Burgundy.Just southeast of Montmains, up on the next hill, is where you'll find Les Pargues. There are a few growers – Domaine Servin, Domaine Moreau-Naudet and Domaine Romain Collet – who bottle this separately.

– Les Pargues has the same exposure as our premier crus such as Vaillons, Côte de Léchet and Forêts, says Edouard Vocoret. There is a big difference in character between En Boucheran and Les Pargues. There is only 500 metres between them and the two wines are made in the same way. The soil in Les Pargues is white marl, which brings an austere element to the wine. It’s a very straight wine. A bit closed, but very Chablis.

The Les Butteaux is the only premier cru of the domaine. It is one of the sub-climats of Montmains, located roughly halfway between Chablis and Courgis, with the Vocorets parcel touching on Les Forêts.

– If we wanted we could put Montmains on the label, says Eleni Vocoret. But we decided to have Les Butteaux instead since it’s more exact. The Montmains area is very large. The clay in Les Butteaux is whiter than in Les Forêts. As a wine Les Forêts is rounder. Les Butteaux is more austere.

Apart from the four main wines of Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret there is always small experiments going on. Fermentation in barrel, the amount of sulphur used and different blends some of the things that are being tried out. There has even been a sweet wine, a spätlese, made from Le Bas de Chapelot grapes.

© 2021 Ola Bergman