Purists will say that the word “wine-merchant” is not very prestigious but Olivier Merlin proudly asserts he is a wine-merchant since 25% of his production comes from grapes bought to wine-growers. Worse, he does not impose any specifications because he prefers relying on human relationship, on the open-mindness of his fellow providers rather than imposing growing methods that would not have been approved of by his wine-growers. “It took us several years, but our grape provider in Viré-Clessé has finally turned to organic production because he has understood that the wine will be better and the vines as well as the wine-grower will get better too!”
Difficult to find someone who is more environment-aware than Olivier and Corinne Merlin! Who can leave a piece of vine land fallow for 5 to 6 years so as to eradicate the diseases in the soil ? Today, nobody would!
Since it was created in 1987, the estate has grown from 4,5 to 16 hectares. But the idea has always been to do the job properly, get the best of the terroirs progressively inherited. All the basic rules are respected: working the soil, biodiversity in the new plantings, hand-picking in crates and selection of old vines for grape buying.
The growing methods are adapted to the plot but they respect soil and plant. The first goal is to get good vine-stocks, even if it means pulling vines off. It's just not conceivable to work from a selection of unreliable stocks.
The winery is equipped with three wine-presses so that the picked grapes needn't wait. Wine-makings are very traditional. No yeasting, no enzyme adding on the musts of Chardonnay. White fermentations are achieved in casks with long agings. The Pinot Noir is worked in the Burgundy way: destalking and vatting adapted to the vintage, whereas the Gamay is worked in the Beaujolais way with entire bunches. Red wine agings are long, the wines often wait for two winters before being bottled. Terroir comes first with Olivier Merlin's wines, the wine-grower's only task is to reveal it.