The Story

Evelyne and Pascal have run this domain since 1991, and one of the things that stands out most is perhaps their meticulous approach to quality control of the grapes. To avoid them becoming damaged after picking, they are loaded into 20kg containers, which are then transported by sledge. This might sound trivial, but it has big implications for the wine – it means that there is rarely any need to add sulphur to compensate for grape damage. Plantation is achieved by selective breeding, rather than grafting, across their six hectares of land. Grass is planted in every other row to allow the tractor to pass but is carefully controlled and kept away from the vines themselves.

The domain is free of synthetic chemicals, with compost and manure used to condition the marl and clay soil, and sulphur, horn-manure and Bouillie Bordelaise (a commonly used mixture of copper sulphate and hydrated lime), among other biodynamic materials, used to increase grape quality. The grapes are destemmed by hand, despite the fact that they own a machine that could do all the work for them. Although the domain was certified organic only in 2010, it had been operating to organic standards for a long time before then.

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The People

Evelyne & Pascal

Evelyne and Pascal began growing vines in 1991, on a small plot of rented land. Back then they both had day jobs but they have worked together on a full-time basis since 2000.

“We are far from the common misconception that producing organic wine is letting nature do our job.”

That’s how Evelyne and Pascal Clairet describe their philosophy, and it certainly appears true when you consider the efforts they undergo to produce their excellent wines.

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The Place

Jura, France

Today, they have seven hectares – and don’t intend to grow any further. This size of the domain is just about enough for Evelyne and Pascal to work alone. The vines are all local varieties: Savagnin, Chardonnay, Trousseau and Ploussard, and local wild yeast is used in fermentation.

It’s no surprise, when you consider all of this effort, that Domaine De La Tournelle has an international reputation for making great wine.

La Tournelle Location