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Delaunay cousins shake up Chablis

Published:  13 July, 2021

Badet Clément president Laurent Delaunay has teamed up with another member of the long-standing negociant family to make a contemporary, international brand that focuses on ‘cool terroir’.

Grand Calcaire is the first joint venture between Delaunay and his cousin Dominique Gruhier, fifth generation of the Delaunay family which has been negociants and producers in Burgundy since 1893.

Drawing on Laurent Delaunay’s extensive knowledge in the region and also the Languedoc, the pair have now joined forces to create a wine which puts cool climate minerality to the fore.

“We’ve always wanted to make wine together and combine our talents on great terroirs,” Laurent Delaunay said. “What we wanted was to produce Chablis wines whose freshness really illustrates their northern terroir with a certain sophistication. Vibrant, fresh, delicate wines with a salinity that expresses the great Chablis limestone.

“We both bring different things to this project. Dominique brings his in-depth knowledge of the terroir and I bring my vision of the market and my understanding of consumer expectations. Cool climate and minerality are two key trends in the international wine market at the moment, in Grand Calcaire we have both.”

In order to achieve their goal and appeal to “key trends”, the pair identified the best, often shaded, north-facing plots based on Kimmeridgian clay-limestone marl soil.

Encouraged by Laurent Delaunay, Gruhier first started making wine 30 years ago and was one of the pioneers of organic, biodynamic and sustainable viticulture in Chablis. Delaunay meanwhile began his winemaking career in the Languedoc where he became known as both winemaker and brand creator.

He returned to his native Burgundy in 2017 to relaunch his family’s former estate, Edouard Delaunay.

The three levels in the new range are Grand Calcaire Chablis 2019, Grand Calcaire Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2019, Calcaire Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2020.

The wines were made at the Domaine de l’Abbaye du Petit Quincy winery in Chablis, owned by Delaunay and part of the Delaunay family history. The wines are due to be launched internationally later this month.