Over the thirty years of our commercial relationship, Jean-Claude and his wife, Helene, and now his three sons (Benjamin, Jonathan and Aurélien), have performed at a remarkable, and consistently high, level producing wines of honesty and purity and fine value. This is the kind of relationship at the core of our business: one that functions seamlessly through good times and difficult moments and turns into friendship as well. So, we lost a treasured companion when Jean-Claude passed away in 2008 at the too-young age of 54; but, we are comforted by the presence of his three talented and dedicated progeny, all functioning under the rigorous supervision of their mother, Helene.
The vineyard holdings now extend throughout Pierreclos and into the neighboring villages of Serrieres, Prissé, Bussieres and Milly-Lamartine. Chardonnay is the dominant grape and Gamay and Pinot Noir produce the red wines of the estate.
|Macon Pierreclos Blanc: This is the workhorse wine of the domaine both for the Thevenet family and for us. The grapes for this cuvée are sourced from four separate parcels within Pierreclos: “Margots”, “Le Chateau”, “Les Grands Buys” and “La Bucherate”. The average age of the vines is forty-five (45) years. The vineyards face east, southeast and south and are situated about 350 feet above sea level on the gently sloping hills of Pierreclos. The wine is aged in cuve in contact with the fine lees but without any exposure to oak. Total annual production is in the neighborhood of 15,000 bottles with a hefty majority dedicated to the US market.|
|Macon Pierreclos Rouge: This rare bottling of Macon Rouge is made from 100% Gamay from a 40 years old parcel located near the Thevenet home in Pierreclos. Undergoing a short week-long fermentation in concrete tanks, this fresh and lively gamay is aged for 6 to 8 months before being bottled. Just a stone’s throw from Beaujolais, this wine has a similar but perhaps more relaxed disposition than its more well-known neighbor. Fruity, open, and lively, this is a red that is meant to be immediately enjoyed.|
|Saint Véran Clos de l’Ermitage – Vieilles Vignes: This « prestige » cuvée is produced from the oldest vines in a five-hectare parcel exploited entirely as a « monopole » by the Thevenet family. The average age of the south-facing Chardonnay vines located in Prissé are seventy (70) years old. This highly concentrated wine of limited production (about 12,000 bottles per year are produced) is aged in cuve (no oak aging). It displays a powerful constitution with great density; it is marked also by notes of tilleul and jasmine in the bouquet and hints of pear in its flavor.|
|Bourgogne Rouge Bussieres Les Clos: The pinot noir for this wine is found in the village of Bussieres and is sourced from the lieu-dit « Les Clos ». The vines are south-facing at 350 feet above sea level on gently sloping hills that are principally composed of clay. The fruit tends to ripen early due to its excellent exposure. Pigeage and remontage are practiced during fermentation. This wine is marked by notes of black, ripe berries, often a touch “sauvage”.|
|Blanc de Blancs Brut de Chardonnay: A delightful sparkling wine built exclusively from Chardonnay (younger vines of 20 years of age) harvested from parcels in the village of Serrieres on the border with Pierreclos. The vineyards are west facing and are planted to sandy soils. Only 6000 bottles are produced annually, a good portion of which come to the USA. Depending on vintage conditions, the malo-lactic fermentation is sometimes blocked in order to maintain the proper high level of acidity. The dosage is minimal so as to produce a bone-dry, brightly effervescent cuvée.|
2016 Vintage Report After A Vineyard Visit: Burgundy, The Jura, Alsace
A winegrower’s job is never easy, and every vintage presents its own unique challenges. Be it excessive rain, some new pest, severe drought, heat, or mildew, environmental obstacles necessitate constant diligence and creativity on the part of the vigneron. Having heard reports of a widespread and devastating spring frost in France, we headed into our recent tour of Burgundy, Alsace, the Jura, and the Valais with heavy hearts, prepared to receive the worst imaginable news about the 2016 vintage.
Fortunately, as is always the case in wine, nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems on the surface. While the frost did indeed devastate certain zones of the Cote d’Or, many vineyards were left relatively unscathed. Furthermore, after an aberrantly cold, gloomy spring and early summer, July and August brought plenty of sunshine and heat, and most of our growers—on the brink of harvest during our tour—were optimistic about the quality of the surviving grapes. (more…)