Living Wines Producers
We are very proud of the exciting producers that we import to Australia. They all tend their vines with care and eschew the use of chemical sprays and artificial fertilisers. All allow the wine to ferment naturally, using only the yeasts that are on the grapes and in the winery. The only additive any of our producers use is small amounts of sulphites at levels much lower than those common in New World wines. A number of them do not add any. So, this page has a brief description of each of the producers and a link to a more detailed page where each of their wines is described.
Roland Piollot produces "grower Champagne" in the Cote des Bar region of this famous wine producing area. His vineyard is a special place with sweeping views across the valley in which his home village of Polisot nestles. Here ducks swim contentedly in the tranquil upper reaches of the Seine River and vegetable gardens line its banks. It is an idyllic location. His wines display nervy energy and deep concentration of flavour, yet are very reasonably priced.
Michel is one of the great winemakers in the Jura region. His white wines are justifiably famous for their concentration of flavour. He is fastidious with his work in the vineyard to ensure fruit of high quality and he is equally careful in the making of his wines. He is lucky to have amazing Trousseau vines in the plot behind his house which are over 80 years old. These gnarled vines produce grapes of amazing quality that are used to produce his flagship red wine. Most of Michel's wines are produced under the Arbois appellation, however he also produces a lovely sparkling wine under the Cremant du Jura appellation.
Domaine Belluard is one of the leading biodynamic producers in the Savoie. The vineyards of this region lie high in the mountains and are not very far from the famous ski fields of the beautiful village of Chamonix. They are also quite close to the Swiss border.
This domaine practices organic viniculture, uses no pesticides or herbicides in the vineyard and no additives in the winemaking process. The grapes are fermented using only the naturally occurring yeasts. Dominique mainly uses the very rare Gringet grape to make beautifully elegant still white wines and stunning sparkling wines.
The vineyards which Dominique tends so carefully lie in an old glacial valley where the rocks were ground down by the constantly moving ice to form iron-rich soils (the name of one of his cuvees is Le Feu because the sun shining on the iron rich soil gives the impression it is on fire).
Jean-Pierre Robinot ran a wine bar in Paris for many years, but the call to make his own wines (just like Rene Mosse and Nicolas Carmarans) was strong and he sold up and moved to the Loir valley (the Loir River is a tributary of the Sarthe River which flows into the Maine River which then meets up with the mighty Loire River near Angers). He began buying small plots of old vines and also planting new patches of Chenin Blanc and Pinot d'Aunis (an exciting local variety of red grape).
Both his white and red wines are legendary. He uses no sulphur at any stage of the winemaking process and never releases his wines until he believes they are ready to drink.
Domaine Fanny Sabre
One of the new stars of the natural wine movement is the young Fanny Sabre. She is only in her late twenties, but she has very good vines in some great appellations surrounding the ancient city of Beaune including Pommard, Meursault, Aloxe Corton and Volnay. One of her special wines, however, is her standard Aligote which her father planted in Pommard on fabulous terroir, simply because he loves this underrated white grape.
Alice and Olivier de Moor
Alice and Olivier are well known for their pure, natural wines that they craft from small plots in Chablis, Chitry and the little known Saint Bris appellation. Their wines are highly sought-after in Paris and New York so we were delighted when they agreed to release some of their dwindling supplies for Australia.
They have been tending their organic vines near their village of Courgis for almost fifteen years now. Courgis lies north west of Dijon so it is quite a cold area leading to low yields from the vines. Both Alice and Olivier share the winemaking as they work together to craft these stunning wines.
Domaine de Causse Marines
The instantly recognisable and humorous wine labels with their irreverent, but obscure, jibes at French bureaucracy may give the impression that they are a jovial lot at Causse Marines. However, they are very serious wine makers who are committed to restoring the Gaillac region to its former glory.
Their vineyards fall within the appellation of Gaillac which lies a short drive north of the south-west city of Toulouse. The vineyards are tended biodynamically with no pesticides or fungicides or artificial fertilizers used.
They make their wines naturally and have a wide range of unusual grape varieties to call on including Ondenc, Loin-de-l'Oeil, Braucol, Prunelart, Jurancon Noir, Duras and Mauzac.
Philippe Bornard lives in the quaint village of Pupillin which is quite close to Arbois near the Swiss border. He inherited the vineyard from his father and decided to make wine himself rather than sell his grapes to others. He makes his wine under his house which overlooks the village.
The wines cover two appellations. The first is the broader Cotes du Jura and then most of the wines are from the tiny Arbois Pupillin which only applies to grapes grown in the commune of Pupillin. You will notice that in this appellation it is permitted to name the grape variety on the label - which is unusual for France
Agnes and Jacques from Domaine de la Paonnerie which is in the Loire Valley practice biodynamic agriculture in their large vineyard (around 22 hectares) and they vinify with natural yeasts and with either no or very little sulphur added. In recent years they have moved more of their wines to a no-sulphites regime giving added vibrancy and life to the wines. Their Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Muscadet are now sulphite-free.
Domaine de la Cadette
Domaine de la Cadette is run by Jean and Catherine Montanet and their son Valentin. They make white wines of incredible purity and amazing depth of flavour and red wines that are incredibly elegant and with beautiful minerality. One of their Burgundies includes up to 20% of Cesar for added interest.
Julien Frémont is a cider and Calvados maker from Normandy who makes cider the same way that his family has made it since the early 1700s - and using the same beautiful wooden press that the family has owned since that time.
Julien tends his orchard using organic and biodynamic principles and the cider is fermented naturally. Cows graze between the trees to keep the ground cover healthy.
Vincent and Tania Careme inherited 5 hectares of vines in prime Vouvray terroir (just east of the city of Tours) from Vincent's parents. They have since bought more vineyards and rented some as well to give a total of around 15 hectares which includes the superb Le Clos terroir. This is Chenin Blanc at its best!
Mylène runs a small biodynamic 5 hectare vineyard in the mountains behind the Mediterranean port of Sete in the commune of Saint-Pargoire. Here she grows Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault with small amounts of a very rare grape from the Rhone called Aubun as well as Marselan and Tempranillo. She also has a plot of 50 year old Chasselas which is very unusual for the Languedoc.
These wines are lovingly crafted by Alice Bouvot in her Arbois winery using organic grapes from their vineyards scattered around the outskirts of that beautiful town.
TThe vineyards, which include some of the best lieu dits (a lieu dit is a named place that has official recognition in France) available including En Curon, La Mailloche, Les Nouvelles and Les Corvées are certified organic by Demeter as are their winemaking methods
Sextant (Julien Altaber)
Julien Altaber has worked in Saint Aubin just south of the city of Beaune for a number of years. We met him because he works for the redoubtable Dominique Derain who we also import.
Julien is a thoughtful person who has absorbed the art and the science of winemaking in the Burgundy appellation and decided to branch out with his own wines made from grapes sourced from some very good terroirs in the area.
Domaine de la Senachaliere (Marc Pesnot)
Marc Pesnot has 13 hectares of vines in the Muscadet appellation in the village of Saint-Julien-de-Concelles which is quite close to the city of Nantes. The soils are derived from schist and the exposure to the sun is good for his vines of Melon de Bourgogne which are well over 50 years old.
Le Petit Domaine de Gimios
Anne-Marie established the domaine in 1993 and immediately started to restore the abandoned, very old vineyards of which she was now the custodian. She tends her vines using biodynamic practices and the domaine is certified biodynamic by Ecocert. Her wines are stunning in their complexity and minerality.
Terres Dorees (Jean-Paul Brun)
Terres Dorées is the domaine of Beaujolais icon Jean-Paul Brun.
He is one of the most revered vignerons in this appellation, making wines of great purity and extraordinary flavour. Even his entry level Beaujolais wines are full of interest. He also makes wines in four "cru" areas of Beaujolais - Fleurie, Morgon, Moulin a Vent and Cote de Brouilly.
Domaine Milan occupies prime real estate in the holiday town of St Remy de Provence. The immaculate vineyards are framed by both suburban estates and the famous nearby mountains that provide climatic protection for the vineyards. Here Henri Milan crafts beautiful, elegant wines with low or no sulphites.
Catherine & Dominique Derain
Catherine & Dominique Derain are biodynamic producers in Burgundy with vines in a number of different Burgundian appellations. Dominique Derain started his career making wine barrels but decided, instead, to study wine making in Beaune. In 1988 he and his wife Catherine purchased 5.5 hectares of vineyards in Saint Aubin just south of Beaune and began tending the vines biodynamically and making their wines in a non-interventionist way as well. Most of his wines have no sulphites added.
Le Temps des Cerises
Axel Prüfer was born and raised in East Germany but moved to France as a young man to take up a career in wine making. He produces delicious wines naturally with as little intervention as possible - many of his wines have no added sulphur.
Michel Guignier is a Beaujolais producer who believes passionately in biodiversity and soil quality and his vines are dotted through his farm which sits in the middle of the forests that surround the village of Vauxrenard. The soils are friable granite with degraded sandstone (grès). The 7 hectares of vines range in age from 30 years old to over 75 years old.
This former Paris wine bar owner has returned to his family vineyard in the Aveyron in Central France where he makes stunningly delicious natural wines from local grape varieties such as Fer Servadou and Negret de Banhars.
Pascal Potaire and Moses Gadouche are widely regarded for the quality of their Petillant Naturel wines. These naturally sparkling wines have deep, concentrated flavour and are ideal for an aperitif or for late night drinking.
Yann Durieux is a young winemaker who is definitely making his mark in Burgundy! He has very strong views about how wine should be made and how vines should be tended.
He has both bought and rented vineyards in some amazingly good terroir, particularly in the Hautes Cotes de Nuits, but as he becomes more established he is also paying attention to other prime areas such as Gevrey Chambertin.
Agnès and René Mosse maintain their vineyards near the small village of Saint Lambert du Lattay which lies south of the Loire city of Angers. Here they make beautiful white wines from Chenin Blanc and red wines from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their rose wines are always special!
Domaine Saint Nicolas
Domaine Saint Nicolas is run by the gregarious Thierry Michon who has run his 38 hectare estate biodynamically for many years. His wines are precise and delicious and reflect the schist soils and salty air that his ocean-facing vineyards enjoy. Fiefs Vendeens is one of the newest appellations in France.
Domaine Stéphane Guion
Stéphane Guion is a quiet, thoughtful man who takes his winemaking very seriously and we think that results speak for themselves.
His wines are natural because the vines are tended organically (and have been since 1965), he only uses the natural yeasts on the fruit to ferment the wines and there are no additives with the exception of very low amounts of sulphur added during bottling to preserve the wine on its long journey out here. He has certification from Ecocert.
Domaine de la Garreliere
Francois and Pascaline Plouzeau maintain an immaculate vineyard near the fascinating village of Richelieu which lies south of Tours quite close to the Chinon region. Here they implement strict biodynamic vineyard practices which are certified by Ecocert.
Hervé Villemade's vineyards can be found quite close to the village of Cellettes which is north east of the city of Tours in the Loire Valley. Here Hervé and his sister Isabelle produce exciting natural wines from a variety of grapes including Pinot Noir, Pineau d'Aunis, Gamay, Malbec (called Cot in the Loire), Sauvignon Blanc, Menu Pineau and Chardonnay which are produced under the Cheverny appellation. They also have some vines in the Cour-Cheverny appellation where the obscure Romorantin grape is found.
This is Catherine Montanet's domaine which she runs with a business partner and her son Valentin who is also the winemaker. He is still quite young, but is showing a talent for winemaking beyond his years.
Jean-Luc Chossart and Isabelle Jolly bought a rambling Catalan walled farmhouse and coaching inn just west of the village of Espira de l’Agly in 2005. This village lies very close to the town of Rivesaltes, which in turn lies just north of the city of Perpignan. Here they make an exciting range of wines from Pet Nats to rancio wines that have been oxidised in the sun.
Bainbridge and Cathcart
Toby Bainbridge lives in the Loire village of Chavagnes les Eaux and makes his wines from around 4.5 hectares of vines that he owns. He has a wonderful vineyard of very old Grolleau Noir vines from which he makes his flagship red.
Olivier Cohen is a young winemaker whose vineyards are in front of the highly forested foothills of the Parc National des Cevennes behind Montpellier in the Languedoc. His vineyards all benefit from good aspect and good soils. He has Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan and Grenache as well as a little Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. He is becoming well-known for the quality of his rosé wines but we also like his juicy reds very much.
Domaine de l'Escarpolette (Ivo Ferreira)
Domaine de l'Escarpolette is situated in the famous Terrasses du Larzac area where Ivo Ferreira hs a number of prized plots of vines, some of which are very old (such as his Cinsault vineyard and his Carignan vineyard). His Le Blanc orange wine is outstanding!
Laurent Lebled has his winery in a small village in the Loire, not too far from Chinon where he makes his unforgettable, fresh, vibrant wines such as Ca C'est Bon (from the Gamay grape variety) and La Sauvignonne from Sauvignon Blanc. These are delightful wines at a very reasonable price considering the quality.
Renaud Bruyere and Adeline Houillon
Renaud Bruyere and Adeline Houillon maintain their winery in the village of Pupillin which is home to many of the great winemakers of the Jura. Their vineyards are close to the famous Pupillin sign on the steep slope not too far from the village. Their wines are highly sought after and beautifully made.
Julien Peyras is a very thoughtful producer working in the Languedoc near the village of Paulhan which lies just a short drive north-east of Beziers. He makes an outstanding rosé as well as a range of very interesting red and white wines. Julien does not add sulphites to his wines at any stage of the production.
Tony Bornard produced is a young Jura producer who makes incredible terroir-driven wines including the white made from Chardonnay and the red made from Ploussard. His wines are very precise and very distinctive.
Domaine les Grandes Vignes
Domaine les Grandes Vignes is situated in the pleasant Loire Valley village of Roche Aubry which is close to Thouarcé and hence in the heart of the Anjou wine appellation.
They make all their white wines from Chenin Blanc and their reds exclusively from Cabernet Franc. Their rosé varies depending on the year and the requirements of the appellations (there is a special appellation for rose wines in the Anjou area).
Sylvain Bock produces his delicious wines in the heart of the Ardeche. Some of the wines have been left to mature for a long time such as his "Fruit de la Patience" where the Chardonnay matures in old oak barrels for two years. Others such as his Bascule made from Carignan are ready to smash right now! He also makes a very juicy red wine from Merlot.
Jean-Michel Stephan is different! He tends his vines within sight of the iconic Guigal and Chapoutier advertising signs that dominate the steep slopes of the Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhone. However, unlike the norm for this region of high alcohol, heavily new-oaked wines, Jean-Michel opts for lower alcohol and no new wood for his wines.
His vineyards are on the Coteaux de Tupin and the prized Coteaux de Bassenon as well as a new plot on the plains of Condrieu right next to the Rhone. They are managed using biodynamic principles and the wines are fermented in large cylindrical steel vats.
Pascal is an old favourite of ours but we have only recently been able to make contact with him to arrange to import his wines to Australia. He is well known in Paris wine bar circles for his "scribble" labels. We produces a delightful Sauvignon Blanc and an elegant Gamay.
Dominique Andiran owns Domaine Haut Campagnau which operates in the Gers department inland from Bordeaux. He is a talented and thoughtful winemaker who also likes to experiment with local grape varieties such as Colombard, Tannat, Sauvignon Rose, Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng as well as better known varieties such as Chardonnay. He produces both dry and sweet wines and also does great things with oxidative wines.