Domaine de SouchWhen she lost her husband at 60 years old, Yvonne decided to fulfil their life dream of planting a vineyard around their house. On the hillsides, with the Pyrénées in the distance, the vines are planted in the local soil type called poudingues. This gravelly clay allows for the roots to push really deep into the sub-soil to find moisture and nutrients. The specificity of this soil, along with biodynamic farming, rigorous work all year long, manual harvesting and low yields, allow for the making of elegant, delicate and beautiful wines with unparalleled balance and freshness.
Clos LarrouyatMaxime Salharang planted 4 hectares of vines in Jurançon on calcareous soil in 2011. He worked at Domaine de Souch for many years and learned gradually about biodynamic principles during his time there. Préambule 2014 was his first wine and he has kept the same fresh and incisive style for Météore.
Domaine Causse MarinesDomaine Causse Marines in Gaillac, South-West France spans across 8 hectares. Patrice and Virginie mainly grow indigenous grape varieties, such as Mauzac, Loin de l’Oeil, Braucol and Prunelard. Their vines are planted on limestone and calcareous soils, on a rocky plateau. The vineyard management is very respectful of the grapes and the terroir, and the winemaking is based on very low interventions in the cellar. Virginie and Patrice excel in all styles of wines from dry white to sweet, as well as red and sparkling.
Domaine Cosse MaisonneuveThis project started in 1999 when Matthieu and Catherine took over 5 hectares of old vines of Malbec in Cahors. They’ve since grown to 15 hectares and produce 5 different Malbec wines from single vineyards. Passionate and perfectionists, Matthieu and Catherine are redefining the style of the Cahors appellation with wines that are the antithesis of the rustic style the region is sometimes known for. The winemaking is precise and creates elegant, smooth and aerial wines that truly express their terroir, and have an incredible ageing potential.
Château BouisselLocated in South West France in Fronton, tucked away between the Pyrenees Mountains in the south, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and the Mediterranean sea in the east, Chateau Bouissel benefits from a delightful climate with little rainfall and lots of sunshine producing healthy grapes. Its 18 hectares of vines offer a rich diversity of grapes varieties, from the ancestral Negrette, made from highly aromatic old vines with silky tannins, to peppery Syrah and velvety Malbec.
OrmialeFounded in 2007 by owner Fabrice Domercq, Ormiale is situated in the north of the Entre-Deux-Mers region, 15 Kilometers south of St. Emilion and 8km from Castillon la Bataille. The parcels are Demeter certified and cover 2 hectares on the Côtes de Castillon and Côtes de Francs. Ormiale works with very low yields, around 20-25 hectolitres/hectare, generating an extraordinary finesse to the wines. In comparison, the maximum authorised yield for Bordeaux Supérieur in 2009 was 59 hl./ha!
Château Le PuyChâteau Le Puy has been in the Amoreau family since 1610 and overlooks the Dordogne River, on the same geological plateau as Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. The vineyards account for 50 hectares of land spread across 3 plots with soils made of clay, limestone and silica. It's quite common to find some sharpened flints between the vines as battles were waged on these very sites in olden times. They grow old vines of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère for the red wines, and only old vines of Sémillon for the white wines. Jean-Pierre and his son Pascal perpetuate a long family tradition of natural fermentation and long aging in old barrels, crafting wines of finesse and purity and outstanding aging potential. Bordeaux as it should be.
Domaine de BellevueDomaine de Bellevue is an upcoming estate in the Muscadet started in 2005 by talented newcomer Jérôme Bretaudeau. The 9 hectares of vineyards are home to 11 grape varieties, some quite unusual for the region: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Gris, and Merlot. The soils are made of silica pebbles, white and pink quartz and also some volcanic rocks allowing strong minerality and complexity in the wines. The top wines are aged in concrete eggs or clay amphorae and bring a new understanding of the grape they showcase.
Clos de l'EluAn agronomical engineer by trade, Thomas spent many of his formative years working in Champagne, California and Provence. In 2008, he settled down in the Anjou and took over Clos de l’Élu. With 8 grape varieties over 30 plots, covering 25 hectares, one of the particularities of the estate is that they mainly produce red wines. On exceptional vintages, Thomas also makes a delicious Chaume.
Clos de la Coulée de SerrantNicolas Joly is probably the most vocal proponent of biodynamic farming, having written books on the subject and regularly dispensing lectures on the topic. Indeed, his estate has been farmed this way since 1984. He is also the founder of Renaissance des Appellations. Nicolas and his daughter, Virginie, grow 7 hectares of Chenin Blanc on steep slopes of schist soils. The heritage here is rich as the vineyard was initially planted by Cistercian monks in 1130 and the wines were celebrated by Louis XI and Louis XIV. To this day, Nicolas and Virginie make absolutely superb wines that have an outstanding aging potential.
Les Jardins EsmeraldinsThe wines produced by Les Jardins Esméraldins are the result of the obsessive cellar work accomplished by Xavier Caillard. For him, it is not enough to farm organically and make wine without intervening. It’s what happens afterwards which counts the most. With a background in biology rather than winemaking, it is not surprising that Xavier would turn his full attention on how a wine evolves over time. And indeed, no wine ever leaves the estate at less than seven years of age, but sometimes as long as ten. Their refinement and complexity are mind blowing.
Le Clos de la MeslerieClos de la Meslerie is a property that dates back to the early 1600s and grapes have been grown there ever since. The current vines are between 20 and 60 years old, a mere 2 hectares of them around the beautiful manor house. From the four plots on slightly different soils and exposures, Peter makes only one wine: a true expression of Chenin Blanc in a given year. In 2013, he made a sparkling Chenin for the first time.
La Grange TiphaineCoralie and Damien Delecheneau took over the family estate in 2002 and are now writing a few new pages in its long history. Trying to stay as true as possible to the particularities of their vineyards in Montlouis and Touraine-Amboise, they chose organic farming for their 10 hectares of vines as the means to respect their land and let the grapes express themselves.
Domaine de VeillouxMichel and Sylviane bought Domaine de Veilloux in 1994, a family owned the estate since the French Revolution. Right from the beginning they implemented organic and biodynamic practices and obtained their certification in 1998. The Quenioux family puts a lot of energy in their 25 hectares of land, their work is very precise and their wines are stunning. Their whites and reds come in three tiers, with the top ones being made only in fantastic vintages.
Julien CourtoisCreated in 1998 in Soings-en-Sologne, Clos de la Bruyère was founded by Julien Courtois, son of the famous (and infamous!) Claude Courtois, from Domaine Les Cailloux du Paradis. His passion for wine was born when he started learning how to run a vineyard and make wine with his father. Like his father, Julien's aim has always been to make wines from low yielding vineyards in order to reach optimal concentration. With 4,5 hectares of vines, Julien works in close relation with natural cycles and waits for perfect maturity to harvest the grapes. The whole estate is harvested by hand and work in the cellar is left to the simplest expression.
Reynald HéauléReynald has worked in several wineries in Burgundy and the Loire. A disciple of Claude Courtois, he still does part time work for his mentor but spends most of his time in his own 3 hectares of closely planted vines. Assiduous work in the vineyard and long aging periods complement Reynald’s atypical selection of grape varieties: Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Gascon and Pinot Gris are just a few of the 20 varieties he grows.
Francis Boulard & FilleFrancis ran the family estate with his siblings for a decade before they became estranged over the farming practices he had introduced and decided to split the family holdings. Francis and his daughter Delphine, with their three hectares, finally farm the way they want, the biodynamic certification having been achieved in 2007. Their vines average around 35 years and the three grape varieties are almost equally represented in the vineyard.
Franck PascalIn a past life, Frank trained soldiers on the topic of chemical warfare: what to expect from those types of attacks and how to counteract their effect. What a shock it was, when he took over the family estate in 1994, to realize that farming products were derived from the very same chemical compounds used to harm humans. Needless to say, those were the first to go. After a few trials, he opted for biodynamic farming as he loved what it brought to his wines, specifically that strong mineral character. Frank and Isabelle are driven by a desire to preserve life and create wines that are as healthy as they are delicious.
Domaine Prieuré Saint ChristopheAfter having worked on the family estate for ten years, Michel bought a piece of land with a ruined building that would later become Prieuré Saint-Christophe. He left the family business in 1982, bent on making Mondeuse a famous grape, and did his first vintage on his own in 1983. It was only a decade later that Michel discovered biodynamic farming through a series of meetings and conversations with winemakers.
Marie et Florian CurtetAfter working 4 years with Jacques Maillet, Florian took over the estate in 2017. A new adventure began for this passionate couple! They will of course carry to grow Roussette, Jacqueres, Pinot Noir, Mondeuse and Gamay with the same philisophy. As Jacques did, they aim to express and represent their beautiful terroir from Chautagne. A dragon has been added to their labels, symbol of their region.
Domaine GiachinoDomaine Giachino was created in 1998 when Frédéric took over the 1,5 hectares family estate from his grandfather Marius Genton. Later joined by his brother David, they sold the cereal plots down in the valley and focused on grape growing. They progressively expanded the estate to 9 hectares, 6 of which are planted to Jaquère, and decided that they would only grow grapes native to Savoie. The conversion to organic viticulture in 2006 was the culmination of work they were already doing prior to certification and also something close to their personal values.
Jacques MailletIt was while working conventionally for the local wine coop that Jacques developed a cancer because of the chemicals he was spraying on his vines. It took three years for him to get well enough to start farming again. When he did, he did so for himself and ‘Autrement’, or differently. His vineyards are on two lieu-dits overlooking the Rhône river, Les Vignes du Seigneurs and Le Cellier des Pauvres, and account for about 5 hectares. His wines are liquid purity.
Domaine de la TournellePascal and Evelyne started in 1991 by renting some Chardonnay vineyards. By 1995, they had jumped in full time and nowadays they own 7 hectares of land planted with all local varieties: Savagnin, Chardonnay, Trousseau and Ploussard. They were certified in 2010 but had been working naturally for ten years before obtaining the official stamp. Their customer base has been growing steadily as their production develops. Their wines are considered some of the best in the region.
Domaine JosmeyerSettled in Wintzenheim in Alsace, Domaine Josmeyer is an estate with a long family history. Founded in 1854 by Aloyse Meyer, a noted restaurateur and gourmet, the estate was rechristened in 1941 by Hubert Meyer, his grandson, because numerous families named Meyer were making wines in the area. He added the beginning of his father’s name, Joseph, to their surname and thus created the Josmeyer brand. Since 1966, the 28 hectare estate has been managed by Jean along with his two daughters, Céline and Isabelle.
Château de BéruOwned by the Béru family for over 400 years, the old vineyards at the estate had been devastated by phylloxera in the late 19th century. One hundred years later, Count Eric de Béru decided to replant the vineyards, especially the famous Clos Béru. In 2003, his daughter Athénaïs left her career in finance in Paris and came back to the family estate. Athénaïs immediately undertook measures to improve the quality of the wines and chose to convert the vineyards to organic viticulture. She made her first vintage in 2005 and since then, the quality and the reputation of the wines have improved every year, becoming a true reference for Chablis wines.
Athenais by Athenais De BeruAthénaïs is the negoce brand created by Athénaïs de Béru in order to expand the range of wines of her domain, Château de Béru. In 2010, ambitious Athenais decides to create her own brand in order to explore new parcels and different terroirs from other wine producers based in Burgundy.
Fanny SabreWith only 7 hectares of vineyards but over 18 different wines, you could say this young lady is a bit obsessed with terroir! Guided into the craft by natural forerunner Philippe Pacalet, she’s since found her own style which comes out as a delightfully light touch. Ambient yeast ferments and a bit of semi-carbonic maceration on the reds make for wines that are easy to approach and yet retain so much of their terroir’s personality. Fanny Sabre has definitely settled her name in the Burgundy winemaking landscape as a reference for straight, precise and fresh wines.
Emmanuel GiboulotFarming organically was an obvious path for Emmanuel as he grew up watching his father doing it. When he struck out on his own, he did so with less than one hectare, adding gradually a plot here and a plot there. Ten years later, he had accumulated ten hectares of vines, scattered over a few different appellations. Considered a pioneer of biodynamic farming in the region, Emmanuel’s wines are balanced, precise and elegant.
Anthony ThévenetAn up and coming young winemaker, Anthony worked for several years with two of the original organic farmers in Beaujolais, Georges Descombes and Jean Foillard. He inherited his grandfather’s 2.11 hectares of vines and started making his own wine in 2013. One of the plots is 100 year old vines and is used to make his ‘Vieilles Vignes’ wine. In 2014, he took over 1 hectare of vines on Morgon’s famous Côte du Py.
Domaine Les BruyèresDomaine Les Bruyères has been in David’s family since the 18th century. Passed down from generation to the next, he started making wine with his mum after finishing his studies in 2000. He bought new plots, bringing the estate up to 20 hectares – plus 8 hectares farmed by a friends, and converted to organic soon after. From 2003, he converted to biodynamics. All fruit is destemmed and then fermented in either old oak, steel or huge cement eggs.
Domaine des AphillanthesSettled not far from Gigondas in the Côtes-du-Rhône, Domaine Les Aphillanthes is a 60 hectare wine estate currently run by Daniel and Hélène Boulle. Fourth of a generation of family grape growers, Daniel took over the estate in 1987 and kept selling his harvests to the local cooperative until 1999 when he realized that his fruit was too good to blend. He then decided to make his own wine. In 2000, a new winery was built and Daniel started implementing biodynamic principles in the vineyards from 2002.
Matthieu DumarcherTrained as an oenologist, Matthieu basically learned to make wines he doesn’t like. Unlearning the recipes, eschewing the chemical paraphernalia, he started his estate in 2006 with the intent to make fresh and precise wines true to the grapes he grows. He owns 5 hectares of old vines and produces half a dozen wines bottled as Côtes-du-Rhône or Vin de France.
Domaine de VilleneuveIn 1993, Stanislas Wallut and Philippe du Roy de Blicquy bought Domaine de Villeneuve. They refurbished the estate, built an underground winery and set about converting the 8,4 hectares of vines to biodynamic farming. After a few years, unfortunately, Philippe had to pull out of the project because of health reasons. In 2009, Stan added another 4 hectares of Côtes-du-Rhône, just north of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. The complexity of Stan’s wines is due to the low yields he obtains by carefully farming but also the fact that his vines are quite old, with specimens between 30 and 100 years old.
Domaine Gourt de MautensFor six generations, this estate was handed down from father to son and the grapes were sold to the local cooperative. The first to decide he was going to make his own wines was Jérôme, who at age 16 told his father he wanted to make great wines! He was so passionate about agriculture that he convinced his father to convert the farm to organic in 1989 when he was 23. Then, the conversion to biodynamic came in 1993 and he produced his first wine in 1996, the same year they built their winery. Jérôme farms 14 hectares of vines on which they grow 22 grape varieties. In Provençal, ‘gourt’ is where water comes out of the ground, and ‘mautens’ is bad weather. Together, they mean ‘where the water springs when it rains’.
Cyril ZangsSettled in Glos, Cyril Zangs is one of the greatest producers of cider in Normandy. A passionate and intriguing figure, he cultivates his 30 varieties of apple trees like a winemaker his vines, with the added difficulty that apple trees can only be harvested every other year. Because Cyril advocates for natural things, everything is done organically in the orchards. With his unique old school approach to making cider, mixing different apple varieties (sweet, bittersweet, bitter, sour, tart), Cyril truly produces gourmet ciders which are more complex than the majority of ciders produced in the region.
Château FontainebleauNestled between the rolling hills, Château Fontainebleau farms 14 hectares of vines and a few of olive trees according to biodynamic principles. It takes its name from the closeness to a river and an abundance of water in its subsoils. Because of this, the vines suffer a bit less from the heat and their wines are that much more light and delicate.
Domaine MilanDomaine Milan was created in 1956 by Robert Milan and taken over in 1986, by Henri, his son, who had planted his very first vine there at 8 years old. Henri introduced organic practices early on but 1996 marks a major change in direction after two conversations: one with Claude Bourguignon, the reputed soil specialist, who suggested that Henri make wines based on vineyard sites, and the other with Claude Courtois, from Les Cailloux du Paradis, whose advice helped Henri ascertain himself on the path of natural winemaking. From 2007, he flips the bird to the AOC system and starts bottling his whole production as Vin de France.
Domaine AbbatucciThe winemaking history of this family state is over a hundred years old, with many generations of winemakers passing down their know-how. In the 60s, Antoine Abbatucci, witnessing the disappearance of local varieties in favour of ‘international’ ones, decided to plant 1 hectare conservatory, therefore saving 18 Corsican grape varieties from oblivion. His son Jean-Charles took over in 2000, converted to biodynamics and started gradually grafting some of these old varieties onto their existing vineyards. He now produces 14 different wines all from traditional Corsican varieties.
Mas des AgrunellesMas Nicot vineyard has been in Stéphanie’s family since 1773. The fruits they grow used to be sold to the local cooperative. In 2004, she decided to isolate 8 hectares and make their own wine using organic farming, lowering the yields and producing around 8000 bottles of lovely, lovely wines. A motocross accident left her husband Fred paraplegic. In the vineyard, he found his new passion and life project. Mas des Agrunelles is an 18 hectare project spread on 12 different plots, north west of Montpellier. Due to its cool micro-climate, that part of the Languedoc never interested the large coops, but produces fresh wines with lower alcohol levels.
Domaine de la MareleIn 2000, Frederic Porro started Domaine de la Marèle where he made his first vintage in 2001. Only one rare wine is made here, produced in very small quantities, reflecting the love between a talented wine producer and his soil. Nested in a unique microclimate in the North of Montpellier, Domaine de la Marele is a secret garden.
Alain ChabanonAlain studied agriculture in Bordeaux and Montpellier and then worked for two years for Alain Brumont, the iconic man behind the revival of Madiran. He bought vineyards in the late 80s and released his first wine in 1992. Now with 20 hectares on 5 villages, Alain aims to make exceptional wines of true personality. His wines age beautifully and are celebrated around the world.
Ludovic EngelvinA trained sommelier and former pupil of Didier Dagueneau, Ludovic went back to his native Languedoc and opened a wine shop. He also bought 1 hectare of old Grenache Noir planted in 1955 and started making a bit of wine on the side. A few years later, with a few more hectares at his disposal, he sold the shop and went into winemaking full time. His schooling becomes apparent when you taste his wines as he takes Grenache to a level of refinement rarely seen.
La Terrasse d'EliseEven if the son of a winemaker, Xavier Braujou decided to go against the grain and became a lumberjack. It’s only years later, in 1998, after having worked at Daumas Gassac and in Alsace, that he heard the calling. Since then, he’s acquired about 12 hectares of old grape varieties typical of the region. He practices sélection massale and is one of the last to do his own field grafts. Working with old bush vines, his yields are quite low and yet the wines are fresh and velvety.
Domaine de CourbissacNestled in a valley at high altitudes, the old vineyards of Courbissac escaped the grubbing up plans of the 90s, contrary to a lot of vineyards in Languedoc. Bought by a Dutch movie producer, the wines were first made by Marc Tempé. Now, Brunnhilde Claux has taken over the winemaking, with her first vintage being 2014. She has worked many years for Gérard Gauby and then a couple at Terroirs Al Limit.
Domaine LedogarXavier and Matthieu, the current generation of winemakers at the family estate, decided to stop selling their grapes to the local coop in 1998. Then ensued a complete reworking of the farming practices on their 22 hectares of vines. They mainly farm old vines of Carignan and Grenache between the ages of 60 and 120 years old, as well as a little bit of the rare Carignan Blanc. They are very generous of their experience, always advising other winemakers in the area and trying to bring the reputation of the young Corbières-Boutenac appellation ever higher.
Le Casot des MaillolesMade famous by the hard work of Alain Castex and his wife, it was now time for them to move on and they found in Jordi Perez the same spirit that had animated them all these years. Jordi took over gradually, working alongside them, and the wines made in 2015 are the last made by Alain and Jordi. From now on, Jordi flies solo. Le Casot des Mailloles is a 5 hectare estate nestled on steep, walled terraces overhanging the town of Banyuls.
Les Vins du CabanonHaving passed Le Casot des Mailloles to a newcomer, Alain has nonetheless kept a few vineyards with which he makes some of the classic wines he’s known for. Alain worked for 15 years in the Corbières region before founding Le Casot 15 years ago. For Les Vins du Cabanon, he has kept the vineyards in Trouillas and so will keep making Canta Mañana, Ezo, Tir à Blanc and Poudre d’Escampette.
Les Enfants SauvagesCarolin and Nikolaus were looking for a house in the South of France, not a vineyard. She was an architect and he was running the family’s leather processing business. They visited a property with 8 hectares of vines and fell instantly in love with it. They settled in Fitou permanently and Carolin took an oenology course. They were initially selling their grapes but after interning with Olivier Pithon, she and Nikolaus agreed that it was time to make their own wine. Their wines speak of the garrigue and the sun but with an unexpected freshness.
Domaine Danjou-BanessyGrapes and wine have been part of the Danjou & Banessy families for many generations. While the tradition has always been for fortified and rancio wines, the addition of vineyards during the 50ies allowed them to build a ‘library’ of old wines. In 2001, Benoit Danjou took the reins, joined by his brother Sébastien a few years later. They are the keepers of the family’s style, and stock, of old fortified wines, and have also brought their own contribution to the estate by being the first generation to produce light wines. Beautiful, racy, elegant wines they are. Softly textured and very ‘modern’ in their freshness and balance.
Domaine du Traginer Driven by passion, tradition and quality, Jean Francois Deu has been growing vines since 1975 at Domaine du Traginer. The vineyard is made up of narrow terraces that benefit from an exceptional climate and exposure, sandwiched between the sea and the mountain. Much of the vineyard is ploughed by a mule guided by its "traginer", which means a mule driver in Catalan. Literally diving in the Mediterranean, the Côte Vermeille is probably amongst the most spectacular regions of France.
RadikonThe Radikon family own 12 hectares of vines at the far east of Venezia-Giulia, near the Slovenian border. A bit of a maverick, Stanko’s desire to make skin fermented white wines, or orange wines, was what led him to abandon chemical products entirely in 1995: he couldn’t macerate juice and skins if the skins were covered with pesticides. With the long aging of his wines, four years on average, the chance of cork taint was insufferable and so from 2002, all wines are bottled in custom made bottles with very high quality corks. All the wines are released when ready but have an outstanding aging potential, matched only by their complexity.
Azienda Agricola DivellaWine producer Alessandra owns two hectares of vineyards in Gussago and Cellatica, 1,5 ha of Chardonnay and 0,5 ha of Pinot Noir run organically. Production is tiny with around 7000 bottles per year. Every wine is unfiltered and age on lees between to 2-5 years.
MontesecondoAfter several years working in New York City, Silvio Messana and his wife Catalina took over the Montesecondo estate in 1999. Originally created in the 1970's by his father, who planted the vineyards, the grapes were sold in bulk by his mother who ran the estate after the death of her Silvio's father. Silvio soon started making wine, with his first vintage in 2000, and the conversion to organic was certified in 2004. His wines exhibit amazing freshness, with the aging done in very old barrels, or clay amphorae for the top wines.
Tenuta Di ValgianoSince the early 1990s, Laura di Collobiano and Moreno Petrini have been producing exciting wine in the Colline Lucchesi, in Tuscany, which is one of the oldest, and smallest appellation in the region.
Fine limestone and sandstone soils have been ideal to produce elegant wines ever since Lucca owed its allegiance to France during the early XIX century. Therefore, French varieties such as Syrah and Merlot are part of the landscape today. Converted to organic viticulture in 1997 and to biodynamic in 2002, traditional methods are used in the cellar. Intervention is kept to a minimum to express the full beauty of the Colline Lucchesi.
San PolinoSettled in Tuscany, San Polino is a small family-run farm with a history of making wine that goes back to the 10th century. In 1991, Luigi Fabbro and Katia Nussbaum bought the house with 5 hectares of land, including 1.5 hectare of olive trees. They had no neighbours as the last inhabitants had moved away 20 years before. Between 1991 and 1998, they renovated the estate and planted 2.5 hectares of Sangiovese in the Brunello di Montalcino appellation. The choice of organic viticulture was obvious since they always wanted their wines to express the rich biodiversity of the terroir but also to safeguard and respect Nature. Their first vintage was 2001 and the reputation of their wines has sky rocketed since.
FonterenzaFounded in 1999 by the twin sisters Margherita and Francesca Padovani, Fonterenza is a 40 hectare estate in the Southern part of Montalcino, Tuscany. Initially tending to 5 hectares of olive orchards, the sisters quickly became interested in producing wines and planted the first vines in 1999 then added more in 2002 and 2005. Their 4.2 hectares of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon are planted on clay-limestone soils at 420 metres above sea level. With a bit of help and advice from winemaker friends Thierry Puzelat and Pierre Overnoy, they quickly brought their own sensibility into their wines and now craft beautiful Brunellos. Or is it Brunelli?
Emidio PepeFounded in 1899, the art of wine in the Pepe family has been handed down from father to son for 4 generations. The grapes were sold to the local cooperative until 1964 when Emidio decided their fruit was too good for the coop. He was the very first to bottle his own wine in the region. The 15 hectare estate is nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine mountains and that makes very interesting climatic conditions for growing Montepulciano and Trebbiano grapes. Biodynamically cultivated with minute attention to detail and traditional wine making methods, Emidio Pepe's wines are a true expression of the Abruzzo terroir.
Gut OggauGut Oggau is a 14 hectare wine estate located in the province of Burgenland by Lake Neusiedlersee. The estate is run by Eduard Tscheppe and his wife Stephanie Eselböck-Tscheppe. Stephanie and Eduard focus on quality as a permanent quest, their aim is to achieve a natural vine balance and process the grapes as gently as possible, allowing them to make the best use of their vineyard's strength. All their wines are vineyard-specific and express both the vine age and the character of these indigenous Austrian varieties. With only 15 to 18,000 bottles a year, Gut Oggau's wines are one of the most sought after wines of Austria.
Oriol ArtigasLocated 15 kilometres north Barcelona, with just 220 hectares Alella is one of the Spains smallest and oldest DO's. The proximity to the Mediterranean, granite soils called Sauló, and a plethora of native vines has inspired a few growers to protect this area from extinction. There is no doubt that the quiet revolutionary Oriol Artigas is at the forefront of this movement. Oriol started making wine to enjoy with friends, but started his project with the 2011 vintage. His overarching philosophy is to “cultivate the vineyards in the most natural and least interventionist way possible, in order to let the grapes express with intensity the soil from which they come from.” He has 7.5 hectares of vineyards, with the majority being planted en vaso, which are very old, and located around his hometown Vilassar de Dalt.
SicusSicus is located in Bonastre, in Tarragona and led by a remarkably single-minded young wine craftsman called Eduard Pie Palomar. His vineyards is all about indigenous varieties alone, organically grown and exclusively amphorafermented
in vessels of local clay, some of which are actually buried in the vine. Sicus is the ultimate expression of the surrounding landscape, the salinity of the sea, minerality of the soil and the fruits and flowers of the forest.
Els JelipinsThe Catalan estate of Els Jelipins was born from the desire to create a vinicultural family project that would allow Glòria and her daughter Berta to live in the hills of Font Rubí, near Barcelona. An agronomical engineer by trade, Glòria found small plots of the nearly forgotten sumoll variety out of sight, past the industrial vineyards that produce grapes for cava. She carefully works each vineyard separately thus adjusting to its individual needs, possibilities and potential. The first vintage came in 2003 and every year, she makes around 2000 bottles. Ask her about the name and she will likely tell you it is a word that describes a feeling, a magical and strong word. And the same could be said of her wines.
Olivier RiviereOlivier studied oenology in Bordeaux and then worked in the Marmandais and Burgundy. His dream was to set up himself in Fitou but a job offer to convert a vineyard to biodynamics in La Rioja Alavesa took him to Spain. A couple of years later, in 2009, he bought fruit from a local grape grower and made his very first wine. From there, he acquired 4 hectares in Arlanza and the production really kicked in.
Bodegas MorazaJanire is the 6th generation winemaker at the family Moraza. She urged her father and uncle to convert their 18 hectares to organic farming. All the wines are naturally fermented, unfiltered and single grape to ensure a true expression of the variety. They use only cement fermenters for vinification and ageing. One could say these are ‘modern’ Riojas, astonishingly fresh and unoaked.
Forjas del SalnesA stone’s throw away from the Atlantic ocean located in Val do Salnés in the north of Rias Baixas, this bodega is owned by the Méndez family. The soil in his vineyards is granitic sand, covered with a layer of humus, over granite bedrock. It is very poor, fast draining soil that vines struggle in and phylloxera cannot live in, hence many of the vineyards are deceptively old, up to 200 years! Even his joven Albariño comes from vines with an average age of 40 years. The recovery of century-old vineyards of indigenous red varieties, such as Caíño, Espadeiro and Loureiro, in addition to the white Albariño from old vineyards, are the base of their wines and a clear reflection of the terroir: wines full of freshness, with a perfect minerality and ample sensations.
Ktima LigasIn 1985, Thomas Ligas began to study the local ecosystems, experimenting with viticulture and vinification, and seeking to accentuate the distinctive qualities of his terroir. Thomas, Meli and Jason, father and children, work hand in hand and safeguard the health and maturity of their grapes, seeking an ideal balance between quality and quantity. This natural approach to viticulture preserves the original characteristics of the grape, as determined by the vineyard. They only grow indigenous Greek varieties, some from the south like Assyrtiko, others nearly forgotten, like Kydonitsa and Limniona.
Domaine de BeudonDomaine de Beudon is a remarkable place; a tiny farm perched on the steep side of the Swiss Alps, removed from the world and locally known as the “vineyard in the sky”. Located above the village of Fully, “there are two ways to visit us,” explains owner Marion Granges. “One is by small cable car or you can walk for an hour via steep mountain tracks.” Domaine de Beudon is the only wine grower there. Produced in tiny quantities, from just a 6-hectare estate, Beudon wine very rarely makes it out of Switzerland and onto the international market. Cultivating vines there is highly challenging, every vine lives on steep rocky soil.