Today, it has fallen to me – side by side with my wife Cathy – to take over the stewardship of the family estate from her parents – Renée and Fernand Gravallon.
I remain respectful of the skills and know-how handed down to me by my forefathers and keep in close touch with my terroir, ever doing my utmost to satisfy Mother Nature by making wines that are fruity and form a perfect balance between tradition and modernity.
Below are a few facts and figures about the estate : 15 ha of vineyards in the heart of the Beaujolais region, in six different appellation areas
Red, White or Rosé Beaujolais: 2 ha
Beaujolais villages : 1 ha 24 ares
Beaujolais Crus :
Chiroubles : 50 ares
Fleurie : 1ha 91 ares
Morgon : 7 ha 64 ares
Brouilly Pisse Vieille : 1 ha 82 ares (1st harvest in 2009)
I refuse to slot in to one pigeon hole or another as far as viticulture is concerned. The way I see vinegrowing is my very own; it isn’t conventional, organic or biodynamic. My philosophy is simple: “to produce the very best grapes possible”. What I do then is to tend my vines in a “reasoned” way, where observation is my main guide. Any work I can do in the vines as a means to getting top quality grapes is done.
Our vines mainly grow on slopes of 20 to 40%, this makes some mechanisation quite difficult, if not impossible. Consequently, most of the work in the vines is done by hand (pruning, weeding, tying-up and trimming etc.).
The harvest is also manual, with strict sorting to only keep the very best of what the vines have to offer.
As far as treatments are concerned, the use of plant health products is a requisite to producing quality grapes. Our vines are protected using eco-friendly or ‘integrated’ vinegrowing techniques. We try to minimize treatments and have banished chemical products for treatment and fertilising.
For the last three years, in our plots where mechanisation is easiest, we have totally stopped the use of herbicides, replacing it with shallow ploughing or simply allowing the grass to grow between the vines.
I follow the same reasoning to craft my wine as I do to tend my vines. Depending on the terroir and year, I adapt what I do, combining ancestral know-how and new technology, so that the vintage I make is the best possible.
My vinification method is traditional, more commonly called semi-carbonic. Maceration lasts from 8 to 12 days depending on the appellation and the terroir. It is only after this first stage, during maturing, that the different cuvées like Morgon Cuvée Prémium or Morgon Cuvée Expression differentiate themselves.
I de-stem the grapes for some of my cuvees to enhance supple, fruity aromas and flavours.
The grapes from each terroir are vinified in separate small to medium-sized vats. After vinification these may be combined after tasting, depending on their originality and structure.
As soon as malo-lactic fermentation is finished, some of our wines are transferred to our oak barrels to mature for 3 to 6 or 12 months.
In the spring, after light filtering, we bottle our wines ourselves on the estate before releasing the wine for sale for you to enjoy.