The Clos des Vignes du Maynes was first recorded on cadastral maps by Burgundian monks. Its origin dates back to 910, the year Cluny Abbey was founded by the Duke of Aquitaine. The domaine was originally owned by the seigneurs of the Château of Cruzille, and then belonged to a farming family for five generations before being bought by Pierre and Jeanne Guillot in 1952. The vineyard has therefore never had any chemicals used on it and has always been farmed with the greatest respect for the eart.
From the very outset, my grandfather decided to make wine organically, using no chemicals, herbicides, pesticides or sulphur. My father, Alain, later took over the domaine, keeping the same philosophy. He lectured at the agricultural college in Beaujeu, alongside Suzanne Michon, Xavier Florin, Claude and Lydia Bourguignon and Pierre Rabhi, and was particularly involved in the legislative aspects of organic agriculture. As President of the French national federation of organic agriculture (FNAB), he was responsible for getting the AB (agriculture biologique) organic logo and standards recognised by the then Minister of Agriculture, Philippe Vasseur. I joined the domaine in 1998, which is when I introduced the first biodynamic preparations. I then took over the domaine officially in 2001 and decided to convert the entire vineyard of seven hectares to biodynamic farming.
Joyful and Generous Wines
Julien's aim is to make wines that are to be shared, for people who enjoy drinking wine, who are looking for a generous and pleasant wine. The achieve this, in the wineyard they try to produce stable wines in the most natural way possible. Of course there are risks in such vinification methods, but it is very important that the wines be easily approachable, without any major faults, and with a controlled level of volatile acidity and reduction.
Julien thinks that the feeling you get in your mouth is very important: the texture of the wine, its silkiness or velvety touch. He likes the salinity on the palate that brings a sharp minerality, a perfect match with fine cuisine. Julien is looking for finishes that reflect the wine's terroir as authentically as possible. It is essential for the geology to come out in each wine, be it granite, limestone or white clay. The grape variety is actually less important because it simply acts as a vector for the terroir.
Biodynamics: the Cornerstone to Our Farming Methods
In order to continue improving our soils and plants, in 1998 in Clos de Vignes du Maynes carried out their first biodynamic trials. By the second year the results were already surprising and impressive, having seen a great rise in the quantity of organic matter, both in the flora and fauna. For almost twenty years now, in the domaine they have been following the four seasons using this approach. The aim of biodynamic farming is to mirror the plant throughout the year by carrying out specific, tailored tasks: in the autumn, this means the decomposition of organic matter; in the spring, it is its re-activation; then we guide the metamorphosis of this organic matter through the leaves, the sap, the flowers and the fruit. Julien's team's goal is to accompany these different steps using preparations such as horn manure, horn silica, equisetum (horsetail), herbal infusions, etc.
Method: Semi-Carbonic Vinification
Domaine uses the most natural methods possible to vinify the wines: using natural yeasts, no sulphur, no enzymes and no chemical additives. The wooden vats are cleaned thoroughly beforehand, and they are scrubbed with marc de Bourgogne to stimulate the yeasts. During the harvest, which is all done by hand and placed in small containers,they sort the grapes meticulously in order not to damage them during their journey to the winery. For the red wines, they carry out a semi-carbonic maceration, using a very precise method that we have perfected over three generations. The basic principle is to create a multi-layered 'cake' built up of of alternate layers of whole clusters and destemmed grapes. The latter will produce the first juice, which will flow out, start fermenting, and thus activate the natural yeasts (with the sugars), which gives the body and smoothness that are looked for in the wines. At the same time, because the vat is saturated with CO2, an intracellular fermentation also takes place, which brings the elegant floral aromas (rose and peony) that are typical of pinot noir. Then, after four or five days, Julen's team does a very light pumping over as well as a punching down of the cap to a depth of around twenty centimetres. The aim of this is to release the sugars and yeasts; that's the starting signal for the fermentation, which should be long to accompany it serenely.
All the red wines are then matured in barrels or wooden vats. They do not touch the wine until Easter. The racking is done when the moon is both waning and descending, in order for the wine to be as calm as possible. This is done in order to avoid having to filter the wines. Then they are assembled in one vat per cuvee and left to rest for two full moons. Finally, wine is bottled four times a year: once in April for the Cuvée 910; once in July for some cuvées, if it has been hot and the wines are tasting well; once before the harvest and a final one in December for the magnums and jeroboams of the Cuvée Auguste. Unless absolutely necessary, no SO2 is added to the reds before bottling.
The white wines are matured in large vats in order to maintain their freshness and the CO2 level and to avoid having any oaky overtones, which we are not looking for in the wines of the domaine.
Appellation : Mâcon Village blanc Grape variety : CHARDONNAY Terroir : First hillside of the Saône Valley situated on the communes of Chardonnay, Montbellet and Viré-Clessé. Weathered fine loam on limestone. The subsoil is Middle Jurassic Bathonian limestone, the same hard limestone as is found throughout Burgundy. The soil is 50 cm to one metre deep. The colluvial deposits of clay loam covering a layer of very calcareous and siliceous weathered loam give the wines their minerality.
Vines: Single arc-cane pruning / Ploughing / Manual debudding on the trunk and the plant / Yield 45 hl/ha / Organically farmed.
Vinification: Harvested by hand with sorting at the vine and on a sorting table when necessary / Slow pressing / Clarification between 6 and 18 hours / Fermentation using natural yeasts, no SO2 added / Matured on lees for 12 months with 2 gr of SO2 added during racking, and 2 gr after filtration / Lightly filtered / Bottled in November.
Certified by: Qualité France Tasting advice: Ideal for pre-dinner drinks
MÂCON CRUZILLE "Manganite"
Appellation : Mâcon-Cruzille Grape variety : small-berried Gamay Nombre de bouteille tirées : 3200 from 2 hectares Terroir : see Cuvée Auguste
Vines: Guyot Simple followed by Cordon Royat pruning / Ploughing / Manual debudding on the trunk and the plant / Yield 28 hl/ha / Organically farmed since 1954 and biodynamically since 1998.
Vinification: Harvested by hand with sorting at the vine and on a sorting table when necessary / cold pre-fermentation in conical wooden vats / Fermentation using natural yeasts, no SO2 added / Matured on lees for 11 months without racking / Bottled using nitrogen, no filtration or SO2, in September.
Corks: Abel, Catalan artisan cork producers; the cork oak trees grow in the mountains. 18 to 20 veins per cork.