Domaine de la Verpaille
Currently owned and run by Baptiste and Estelle Philippe, this fine organically-managed estate in the Maconnais can claim a long history spanning five generations. Situated within the ‘cru’ of Viré-Clessé, the tiny estate’s prime focus is to allow its wines to express the authentic character of its precise origins. Baptiste emphasises “Our philosophy is to look for balance and biodiversity in our soils in order to get the finest grapes”. In 2006 Baptiste and Estelle decided to convert their vineyard to organic cultivation. After the obligatory three years ‘en conversion’ the domaine was officially certified in 2009. The vineyards, in which many of the vines are over a hundred years old, are maintained by both ploughing and controlled natural grass cover. Only a limited use of sulphur and copper is necessary for treatments since the organic cultivation approach has helped to restore the vines’ natural defences.
In the cellar, the aim is to be as sensitive to the grapes’ natural flavour and personality by being as low-interventionist as possible. Hand picked grapes, harvested at optimum maturity in order to ensure both concentration and aromatic intensity, are pressed very gently. Long, cool fermentations in stainless steel tanks, using indigenous yeasts, take three to six months to complete. The wines maintain their freshness and are nourished by extended ageing on fine lees until bottling, often as much as a further six months later.
Tremendous value white Burgundy from 100 year old Chardonnay vines
Superb Chardonnay from a top village in the Macon