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Burgundy’s Brave & Boutique Wineries

BIVB / Michel JOLY

Copyright: BIVB / Michel JOLY

Celebrating the smaller, newer and off-piste producers amongst showcasing their wines at Burgundy’s “Grand Jours de Bourgogne” tastings.

The 17th edition of Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne took place in and around Auxerre, Chablis & Beaune from 17-22 March 2024 with a record number of attendees: 2,600 visitors across 13 events in 10 locations tasting nearly 6,000 wine from 970 wineries.

While it was unquestionably a privilege to taste some of France’s (and the world’s) greatest wines that one can rarely afford to drink at home, it was equally, if not more rewarding to meet some of the smaller wineries throughout the week.

Below is a highlight of some of the newcomers, ground-breakers and micro-producers whose wines and personalities charmed me further than any of the Grands Jours’ Grands Joueurs (excuse the plays on words which work better in French!).

Domaine de Mauperthuis – Rare César

Domaine de Mauperthuis César Amphora
Domaine de Mauperthuis César Amphora

Showcasing 100% César from Irancy.
Natural. Aged in amphora for 12 months.

Irancy is the only appellation around Chablis that includes red wines.
Predominantly Pinot Noir, Irancy reds can contain up to 10% of César (aka “Romain“) and/or Pinot Gros (aka “Beurot“).
There are around 10 producers making a 100% César, of which Mauperthuis is the only to produce either a natural wine or an amphora aged version.

As it is not at least 9o% Pinot Noir, this cannot be called an Irancy, and must labelled under the generic Bourgogne appellation.

From young 5 year old vines (grafted from older 85 year old vines), this is a clean, fresh wine with steely blackcurrant flavours.
They also produce another 100% César aged in oak barrels which wasn’t available for tasting on the day.

It was our personal goal to find a 100% Irancy at the tastings, so day 1 was a success!
IG: @domainedemauperthuis

Eleni & Edouard Vocoret – Modern Chablis

Elini & Edouard Vocoret
Elini & Edouard Vocoret

Although Edouard’s family own a large 50 Ha vineyard, he partnered with Eleni to manage a small plot of 5 Ha.

Often referred to as the “rock stars” of Chablis who need little promotion, they produce modern, fresh wines with incredible precision and tension of which 80% is exported.

Such is their status that they have no need for a website , but can be followed on their Instagram account @elenietedouardvocoret

It was a privilege to taste their wines with them at the Chablis event on Day 1.

Simon Faure – Newcomer

Simon Faure
Simon Faure


Ex-electrician Simon Faure was at the event for the first time to present his first vintage consisting of 3 wines.

With 3 Ha of vines + additional grapes bought-in, Simon produced 10,000 bottles in 2023. The wines are vinified in old oak barrels and display a freshness with increasing complexity through the different labels from apple and citrus Mâcon-Villages, to more textured and creamy Saint-Véran to the complex Pouilly-Fuissé showing riper notes of honey and light roasted nuts.

Simon and his wines charmed not only me, but several international sommeliers from Michelin starred restaurants with whom I had been swapping tips throughout the event.

You can follow Simon on Instagram on @_simon_faure_

Domaine Carrette – Quality & team work

Nathalie & Hervé Carrette
Nathalie & Hervé Carrette

High quality wines and impressive team-work on display.

In 2013 Hervé Carrette and his father took over the small 2Ha vineyard planted by his grandparents in 1980. It has now grown to 17 Ha of organic vines (certified since 2020) producing 100,000 bottles per year of high quality, minimal intervention wines with an equal level of charm.

When Hervé’s wife Nathalie, told me about her commercial background before entering in to the world of a small family winery, I joked to Hervé that it’s clear where the credit lies for the the success of the winery. Without skipping a beat, and with total sincerity, she explained that any success has only been possible from a decade of diligence and care in the vineyard to allow the creation of such beautiful wines.
IG: @domainecarrette

La Soufrandière / Bret Brothers – Off-Piste Styles

Amongst the many wonderful producers of fresh Chardonnays with a few Aligoté was La Soufrandière with something a little different in their line-up:

Ovoïde : Chardonnay from 35 year old vines in Saint-Véran. Vinified for 11 months in concrete eggs and aged on lees for 6 months in stainless steel.  3,600 bottles + 180 magnums) produced.

X-Taste 2012 : Late harvest,  partially botrytised Chardonnay that had spent 10 years in barrel, most of which under a veil of flor. 587 half-bottles produced. Sherry meets Jura with rich, juicy citrus freshness and light marzipan, caramel oxidative notes.

“La Soufrandière” is a biodynamic n 22 Ha estate that released their first vintage in 2020. Organic & biodynamic, they have ploughed their vines by horse since 2009.
“Bret Brothers” is their negotiant arm producing 15 micro-cuvées of 900-1,600 bottles from bought-in grapes hand-harvested by their own team.
IG: @bretbrotherslasoufrandiere

Domaine des Roches Novae – Macon Syrah

Aurélie & Lionel Margotin
Aurélie & Lionel Margotin

After selling fruit to local coops, in 2019 Lionel Margotin and wife Aurélie started making their own wine from the extra fruit. Starting with the permitted Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligote, they have since planted a small plots of Sauvignac and and Syrah with Verdejo to be planted in 2025.
Organic since 2015 with certification since 2022

Lionel presented his Syrah at the evening event showcasing 3 lesser known PGI of the region (in this case Saône-et-Loire).
Vinified more like a Pinot than a typical Syrah, this is fresh and fruity with little of the meaty or pepper notes that can be found further south in the Northern Rhône.

Pictured here with their top wine “La Belouze” from 100 year old Chardonnay vines.

(no website or social media account)

Mark Haisma – Quality Pinot Noir and Macon Syrah

Mark Haisma
Mark Haisma

I am grateful to Jimmy Smith (from Wines with Jimmy) for tipping me off about Mark’s wines.

An Aussie from French and Dutch parents, Mark grew up in Melbourne and worked at Yarra Yerring, Victoria before making the leap to Burgundy to start his own winery.

Mark brings an Aussie no-nonsense approach with fresh, balanced and elegant expressions of Pinot Noir that are incredibly drinkable at a young age. It reminded me of some of the high-end Victorian Pinot Noirs with an old-world edge.

Mark is conscious of the impact climate change will have on the region and has planted Syrah in the Macon which he first harvested in 2022 and has already made available in the UK.
IG: @markjhaisma

Géraldine Louise – Micro-Producer

Géraldine Louise
Géraldine Louise

Géraldine considers herself a micro-producer, and jokes that it applies to both her production and her stature, however her personality and passion is immense.

She produces fewer than 10,000 bottles of 7 different wines, all fermented on their indigenous yeast.

Everything is done by her own hand from the vineyard to picking and pressing through to the bottling and labelling.

She presented her 5 wines from the top of a barrel at La Tonnellerie de Mercurey (the local cooperage)
IG: @maisongeraldinelouise


Thank you to all the team at BIVB / Vins de Bourgogne, and particularly the Press team at Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne for all their help throughout the event.

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Tags: Bourgogne, Burgundy, César, France, Irancy, Mâcon, Pouilly-Fuissé, Saint-Veran, Syrah

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