My father created the estate in 1961. I joined him in 1983 after studying wine at the Beaune high school. From 1990 onwards, I was the only one in charge of wine-makings and my wife joined me when my father retired in 1995. The present surface of the estate is made up of 10 hectares. It was smaller in 2005 when we abandoned the plots of vines located on the late plateau of our village as well as the regional appellations “Bourgogne” and “ Aligoté” so as to devote ourselves whole-heartedly to the old vines and to the Mercurey first growths.
We grow two hectares of Chardonnay and eight hectares of Pinot Noir. The average age of our vineyard is over 40 years old. We have been working our soils for a long time and we wish to adopt a “plot approach” by covering with crops the steepest slopes, on which erosion causes a lot of troubles. Our vines are pruned in simple Guyot with a long cane on which we remove one bud out of two so as to aerate the vegetation, so aerate the grapes. Our old clones that are too high-yielding are tamed with a Cordon de Royat pruning so that we can let 6 to 7 grapes per stock.
We do not carry out green harvesting anymore – it consists in discarding grapes after flowering - because we think that the vine makes up for it and that pruning and disbudding allow the plant to find its balance as soon as budburst takes place. We do not use acaricides nor insecticides any longer and we prefer contact products, but we remain extremely careful as we are in a northern area which means humidity is frequent and Pinot noir is so sensitive to rot.
Grapes are picked by hand and each grape is observed, closely looked at by one of the 6 persons around the sorting table so that only the best quality production is sent to the destemmer. We tend to interfere less and less. There is no yeasting for red wines, just a maceration of about 5 days before fermentation starts. Vatting time and fermentation temperatures are adapted according to the vintage. All our red wines are aged in barrels for 12 months except the premium first growths which can spend two winters in the cellar. Our barrels are renewed by 25% each year for our red wines that are filtered with a loose earth before bottling takes place on the estate. Chardonnay wines are made very simply with pneumatic pressing and aging in 500-liter barrels so as to get a more subtle wood taste.
The word “domaine” does not appear on our labels because we have developed a little wine-merchant business, representing 15% of our production. It means that pick grapes in some Mercurey or Rully first growths for neighbor wine-growers who have the same idea of viticulture.