Celine and Laurent Tripoz are very fond of “their” Mâconnais, a small corner of the diverse Bourgogne region, north of Lyon. They champion it in the best way possible: with outstanding wines! Let’s take a closer look.
In France and beyond, their wines are lauded by a whole host of organic-biodynamic-natural-friendly cellars and restaurants. We have barely alighted from the TGV at Mâcon-Loché station when we find ourselves at the gates of the estate owned by Céline and Laurent Tripoz, just a couple of miles away, at the entrance to the village of Loché. The Rocks of Solutré and Vergisson, atop the spectacular escarpments that dominate the area, make their presence felt on the road.
An exemplary domaine
When he first set out as a wine-maker, Laurent sold his grapes to the co-operative cellar rather than making wine himself. Unconvinced by this system, he quickly abandoned it, making his first wines in 1990, with the means at hand. Thirty vintages later, he has 14 hectares (35 acres) of vines to play with. He has been farming them organically and biodynamically since the early 2000s, back when these practices were still rather secretive. The vineyard is maintained to a remarkable standard, the price of a meticulous approach which strives for natural balance and is rooted in respect for the soil, the plant, and the fruit. As for the vine stocks here, they are Chardonnay and Aligoté for the whites and Pinot Noir and Gamay for the reds. This is the palette with which Céline and Laurent Tripoz design a dozen or so blends of outstanding precision and purity, from still wines in both colors to delicious bubbles.
When we talk about Bourgogne wines, all those legendary names spring to mind: Gevrey-Chambertin, Romanée-Conti, Clos-de-Vougeot, Chambolle-Musigny, Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault… They all refer to prestigious Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune estates and appellations. A different world! So does that mean there is more than one kind of Bourgogne The one produced by those vineyards of galactic fame and the one produced by slightly less well-known terroirs like Vézelay and to a lesser extent, Mâconnais? Without a doubt. In Mâconnais, in the far south of Bourgogne, we are wedged between the highly reputed Côte d’Or and the more lightly regarded Beaujolais region”, explains Céline Tripoz. The proof is that her wines are sold at prices which are affordable to the average drinker who would never be able to buy a bottle of “très grand” Bourgogne. Is such a difference in reputation - and price - justified? It’s hard to say, and we aren’t about to question the capacities of the great terroirs of Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. But there is the work that is done in each estate to consider. And from that point of view, things do seem to be changing. “Practices are moving towards more organic farming, broadly speaking”, explain Céline and Laurent, in reference to “their” region. “Nowadays, we see much more grass left in the vineyards than ten years ago”. And with some terroirs being marked out as “premier cru”, these days Mâconnais is looking like a region with plenty of potential. To be continued...
Taste France Magazine’s selection
Bourgogne Aligoté – “Limone” 2019
A grape regarded as “ordinary”, Aligoté still has plenty to say for itself when treated with respect. This one is delicious. The aromas? Fine citrus notes. Taste? Fresh, precise, quite long.
Crémant de Bourgogne - Crémant Prestige
Crémant is a Tripoz specialty. A Crémant, without any added sugar, which allows the clean, elegant expression of the Chardonnay and the terroir. Very fine bubbles and remarkable length do the rest.
Bourgogne rouge – “Chant de la Tour” 2019
Greater maturity and more pronounced extraction? Such things only compete with Bourgogne’s intrinsic finesse. The Tripoz have understood this perfectly, as this elegant, delicate, pleasantly fresh and fruity wine shows.