France, Bourgogne, Beaujolais
2 Stars Revue du Vin de France
I search out wines as naturally made as possible, but only if this contributes to the wine being better. Domaine du Vissoux may just be the most perfect expression in my whole portfolio of what I seek, for this very ability to be natural and great, at once. A masterful 5th generation grower, Pierre has maintained the strict traditions of his ancestors and of the region, with more tenacity than most. Despite fashions changing, Pierre has, for his entire life, adhered only to the classic methods handed down from his family. This means farming in sustainably a manner as is possible, only using indigenous yeasts for every wine, long fermentations and making whole-cluster (semi-carbonic) wines in the old foudres built by his great-grandfather. Pierre Chermette’s yields are so low and the grapes so naturally ripe that he does not chaptalise. The wines are bottled with little or no filtration and the addition of no sulfur or very little depending on the cuvée. Given the life Pierre imbues upon the wines, they are as stable as Premier Cru Burgundy and age for nearly as long in many cases. They are, nevertheless, utterly "glugable" upon release. The wines of Vissoux are a fascinating study in terroir, tradition and talent, with the pricing more befitting a wine half as great.
|Wine||Varietals||Vine Age||Soil Type||Farming Type|
|Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Nature NV||Chardonnay||15 years||Limestone-clay||Sustainable|
|Beaujolais Blanc - Chardonnay||Chardonnay||15 years||3 plots: granite, siliceous-clay, limestone-clay||Sustainable|
|Les Griottes Beaujolais Rosé||Gamay||25 years||Quartz-clay||Sustainable|
|Beaujolais Primeur "Pierre Chermette"||Gamay||25 years||2 plots: dark granite soil and limestone-clay soil||Sustainable|
|Beaujolais Primeur Cuvee V.V.||Gamay||35-85 years||Dark granite soil||Sustainable|
|Beaujolais "Pierre Chermette"||Gamay||25 years||2 plots: dark granite soil and limestone-clay soil||Sustainable|
|Beaujolais Villages "Traditionnelle V.V."||Gamay||35-85 years||Dark granite soil||Sustainable|
|Coeur de Vendanges||Gamay||100 years||Granite soil||Sustainable|
|Brouilly "Pierreux"||Gamay||30 years||Granitic scree from Mont Brouilly||Sustainable|
|Fleurie "Poncie"||Gamay||35 years||Pink granite soil||Sustainable|
|Fleurie "Les Garants"||Gamay||35 years||Pink granite soil||Sustainable|
|Moulin à Vent "Les Trois Roches"||Gamay||40 years||Manganese-rich subsoil||Sustainable|
Eco-friendly vinegrowing techniques (the rows between the vines are grassed, we work the soil), Guyot pruning, manual harvest with the grapes transported in small open-work cases to allow any juice to flow out and avoid oxidation. Pneumatic pressing, traditional method vinification, 6-month vat fermentation, assembly of 3 vintages, 12-month bottle fermentation in stacks. No send-off liqueur added and a minimum SO2. This Crémant de Bourgogne is "Extra Brut, non dosé", a sparkling wine (extra dry with no send-off dose added) made using a 100 % Chardonnay white wine following the traditional method. These 2.5 hectares of southwest facing vines on limestone clay soil is perfectly adapted to the Chardonnay grape variety. The assembly of three vintages is a guarantee of balance and quality.
This Chardonnay is a rarity to discover. Wonderfully round, rich and fatty, it boasts blossom, citrus and often apricot aromas and flavours. This cuvée is the product of 3 types of soil that give this Chardonnay its fullness of character as well as aromatic complexity. 1/3 from the granitic soil at Le Vissoux, which gives finesse to the Chardonnay, 1/3 from a siliceous-clay soil at Le Nandry in St Vérand, 1/3 from a limestone-clay soil in Oingt, giving depth to this grape variety. Integrated vinegrowing, manual harvest at full ripeness, Guyot pruning Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats, no yeast seeding, minimum de SO2, no chaptalisation Maturing: stainless steel vats.
Domaine du Vissoux started making rosé in 1985, at that time it was a real rarity in the Beaujolais region. Pierre-Marie has never made his rosé by bleeding (that is to say, drawing the juice off a vat of red Beaujolais to make it more concentrated) but has always vinified it as a wine in its own right. 1 hectare of Gamay in Le Bois d’Oingt, siliceous-clay soil giving light and fruity wines. Integrated vinegrowing, manual harvest, Guyot pruning. Vinification: a cuvée in its own right, with direct pressing after 1 to 2 days maceration depending on the year. No yeast seeding, no chaptalisation, minimum SO2, pneumatic pressing.
Contrary to common belief, Nouveau wine is the most difficult one to make and sell. In record time (around 4 weeks), you have to craft a wine that will be ready to drink on 3rd Thursday in November (in France). We don’t do any special vinifications for our Nouveau wines. It is on tasting that Pierre-Marie selects, from 20th October, the most supple cuvées with the best fruit expression for the assembly of his Beaujolais Nouveau Griottes. This cuvée is the epitome of Beaujolais Nouveau while remaining natural, with subtle aromas and flavours. This forthright, supple and easy to drink wine opens onto fruit and freshness with the sharp flavours of fresh small red fruit. A charming wine that lights up November!
This is the essence of Beaujolais: fruity, fresh, easy and crunchy with the tartness of fresh red berry fruit: Morello cherry, raspberry, strawberry. It is called Les Griottes because the bottom of the vineyard is lined with cherry, wild cherry and morello cherry (griotte) trees. Integrated vinegrowing, manual harvest, Guyot and Royat cordon pruning. Vinification: Traditional semi-carbonic Beaujolais method, 5-day maceration in concrete and stainless steel vats, minimum use of SO2, pneumatic pressing. Maturing: 3 to 6 months in vats.
This wine is emblematic Domaine du Vissoux where, from 1986, they wanted to bring back the Beaujolais of yesteryear. This cuvée is crafted to pure Beaujolais tradition: it does its Easter duty in big oak tuns, is fined using egg white, it is not chaptalised and undergoes only the lightest of filtering. The lively, intense fruitiness is very close to the grape itself. Concentration and freshness make this a Beaujolais with character.
This limited edition wine was only known to a small circle of amateurs for several years. It was baptised ‘Cœur de Vendanges’ (heart of the harvest) by Jean-François Abert, a food journalist in Lyon. A rather rare and atypical cuvée for a Beaujolais. Pierre-Marie chooses a rich and powerful cuvée of wine made using the grapes from old vines and matures it in oak until the April following the harvest. The subtle wooded notes intermingle with very ripe red and black fruit. The mouthfeel is long and suave. Gamay 1 hectare of 100-year old vine in Saint Vérand on granite soil and 1 hectare of 100-year-old vines in Vaux en Beaujolais (a.k.a Clochemerle) in the Beaujolais Villages appellation area on black granite soils.
The name Pierreux for this 1.5ha parcel on Mont Brouilly comes from the word “pierres” (stones) which is the make-up of the soil. Integrated vinegrowing, goblet pruning, manual harvest at full ripeness Traditional Beaujolais vinification with “rack and return”, 10 to 12-day maceration in vats, no yeast seeding, no chaptalisation, minimum SO2, pneumatic pressing. Maturing: 6 months in old oak tuns.
From 4.5 hectares of a south-east facing slope called Poncié in the heights of Fleurie planted 35 years ago. It is so steep that no mechanisation at all is possible, but that results in a wine of feminie elegance and supple tannins. The soil is made up of pink granite rich in mica and quartz with a crumbly surface. Integrated vinegrowing, goblet pruning, manual harvest at full ripeness Traditional Beaujolais vinification Beaujolaise with “rack and return”, 10-day maceration in vats, no yeast seeding, no chaptalisation, minimum SO2, pneumatic pressing Maturing: 6 months in old oak tuns. This wine has a feminine personality, packed with finesse and suavity. Silky tannins, crimson tints and a floral iris, violet and rose bouquet with a peppery touch on the palate.
From 2.7 hectares of a south-west facing area called Les Garants in Fleurie on pink granitic soil rich in mica and quartz. Very well sited (south-west facing) and harvested at full ripeness, the grapes from these vines give a concentrated cuvée that is dense and long on the palate and foretelling of really good cellaring potential. So great a terroir that it used, in fact, to be part of the Moulin à Vent AOC. Integrated vinegrowing, goblet pruning, manual harvest at full ripeness Traditional Beaujolais vinification with “rack and return”, 10 to 12-day maceration in vats, no yeast seeding, no chaptalisation, minimum SO2, pneumatic pressing Maturing: 6 months in new oak tuns and 10% in new barrels.
Purchased in 2002 by Martine and Pierre-Marie Chermette, the vineyard at La Rochelle overlooks the famous antique moulin à vent or windmill that gives the appellation its name. It is southeast facing with a subsoil rich in manganese, giving the wine quite a noble disposition.The three different plots of vines we use for this cuvée give a wine that is full and balanced: Rochegrès from 1ha. gives finesse, Roche Noire from 2 ha. gives liveliness and fruit while La Rochelle from 1.5ha. contributes power. The manganese-rich subsoil endows nobility on the whole resulting in an ‘all round’ Moulin à Vent that may be enjoyed from now for its fruity side or cellared to mature for up to 10 years. Integrated vinegrowing, goblet pruning, manual harvest at full ripeness Traditional Beaujolais vinification with “rack and return”, 10 to 12-day maceration in vats, no yeast seeding, no chaptalisation, minimum SO2, pneumatic pressing Maturing: half in tuns and half in 1 to 5-year-old barrels