I am fortunate enough to live and work in the heart of one of the most prestigious Chardonnay vineyards in the world. Each and every vine and the grapes they yield command respect. It is my daily task to enrich this inheritance just like my parents and grandparents when they started. My father planted the majority of our Puligny vines in the 1950?s; in Meursault, they come from my mother’s side (Ropiteau) and are even older, the eldest dates from 1932.
My Domaine is a mirror image of the Burgundy vineyards: I cultivate 8 hectares of splintered holdings comprising approximately 30 plots and producing 14 appellations; the grape varieties are Chardonnay, Aligot, Pinot Noir and Gamay.
The various ?cuvees? are vinified separately and may be blended after the process depending on the style of the wine we seek.
My grapes have always been harvested by hand out of respect for terroir; also the vines are old and the rows can be very narrow.
Every year our 30 harvesters take 10 days – on average – to pick the grapes.
In the vineyards and cellars, I have 2 permanent employees and seasonal staff helps out during the actual pruning and training phase in the vines. This is of paramount importance for me: no good wine can be made without sound grapes.
In the vineyards, our grandfathers’ exhausting work was facilitated with the arrival of mechanisation and modern sprays. Nowadays, however, these methods have shown their limits. I decided to revert to ploughing my vineyards and no longer use herbicides or insecticides in order to preserve the environment, our terroirs and the indigenous micro flora. For a number of years I have been coordinating specific tasks in the vineyards and the racking and bottling with the lunar cycle.
In the cellar, I like to link tradition with contemporary ideas: a number of years ago my father invested in a pneumatic press which is ideal for gentle, slow pressing of the must. Similarly, my stainless steel, temperature-controlled tanks enable all the vibrance and freshness of the aromas to be retained during the alcoholic fermentation.
The final phase of vinification and maturation is conducted in oak barrels of various ages and provenances. In this way, the wines express both their diversity and their complexity after 11 months of regular stirring of the lees.
I recently purchased a special, hi-tech filter so as to avoid stripping the wines of their flavour before bottling.