Lucien was our father. He didn't have the choice : he was working in the vines as early as 14 years old. His first harvest represented 3 “pièces” (Burgundy barrels) out of 7 “ouvrées” (428 square meters). It took him 5 to 6 years to pull off, clear and replant his 5 hectares of vines. Our mother had been advised to find a guy from the other side of the hill, one who would be in Charollais breeding,: it was safer at that time. We, Claude and Hervé that is arrived on the family estate in 1992 at a time when Santenay wine-growers were starting to free them from wine-merchants.
Our village is the most southern one on this narrow strip of about 50 kilometers, stretching from Dijon to Maranges. The veins of brown soils, mixed with limestone, can also be seen between Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay, giving Pinot Noir its leadership back. The 16 hectares of the estate are planted as follows: 10 ha in first growths, 5 in “villages” and 1 in regional appellation.
All our soils are worked, under the row only, and we use crop-covering between the rows on the steep hillsides, and on all the surface planted on south-facing hills. Herbicides have been abandoned for more than 10 years and our first treatments labeled “AB” (organic agriculture) date back to 2008, which was a difficult year. We use plant decoctions, which is method coming from biodynamics, so as to stimulate the vine's defenses and remove by hand the leaves that are east-facing, just after flowering so that grapes get used to the sun. We achieve a little topping so as to maintain the same canopy. Grapes are picked by hand, in little crates of 12 kg to avoid skin-contact, and we also use a sorting table to discard the grapes which do not suit us.
Our wine-making methods have also changed with the 1997 vintage, which was awarded “Best Wine from Young Winegrowers”. We now obtain more gentle wines that are more balanced when young and we try to get as much phenolic maturity as possible. No yeasting. Just a cold maceration, moderate temperature fermentation, vatting time adapted to the vintage, to the plot, to the vine's age. All our wines are aged in barrels. Red wines are not filtered whereas white wines are run through white earth to obtain brighter wines.
We have also developed a small wine-merchant activity to buy the share of grapes of our owners as well as grapes from the Côte de Beaune that we buy from fellow winegrowers. We pick and sort out the grapes ourselves. We've got the “AB” (organic) label for the whole of our activities since 2011.
Please, feel free to look at our press review. We are proud to add that on a scale of 5 glasses, we obtained a third glass in 2008 with the Bettane & Dessauve wine guide.