Voices of the Earth - Meet our Winemakers




Chateau du Juge: The vineyards of Chateau du Juge have been appreciated for their wines since the beginning of the Christian era but were formally assembled under the du Juge name in the late nineteenth century. The chateau received his first gold medal in 1898 at the Concours Agricole de Paris and has been winning awards ever since. The estate is now led by Pierre Dupliech who came into winemaking through his marriage in 1977 to Chantal David who inherited the estate from her father. Pierre learned his trade from the renowned Denis Dubordieu, cousin of Chantal, and consultant to the famed Chateau Cheval Blanc.

The estate's southwest facing vineyards are managed lutte raisonée and the winemaking cellars are located on the estate so grapes have virtually no distance to travel to where they are crushed. Thirty hectares are planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and produce some 180,000 bottles annually. Pierre's wines are regularly awarded for their excellence and have been reviewed many times in European publications, including Decanter and are noted for their high quality and value. Clive Coates, in his book "The Wines of Bordeaux" lists Chateau du Juge as one of the leading chateau of Cadillac.


Domaine Chevrot et Fils (Maranges): Domaine Chevrot et Fils is located in the most southern part of the Côte de Beaune. The estate consists of 15 different appellations over 20 hectares. The cellar, located under the main house, was constructed in 1798 and holds the French oak barrels in which the wine is aged. They produce red, white and Crémant de Bourgogne. The Chevrot family has been making wine here for generations.

The Domaine has its own winery, bottling facility and storage facility and is managed using organic horticultural methods. Indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation, enzymes are never added, acidity never adjusted, and the wines are never chaptalized and either not filtered or filtered ever so lightly. The Chevrot family strives to make woines that are true representatives of the terroir and the vintage.

Marcel Giraudon (Chitry): Chitry is an ancient wine town of Auxerre, the most northern region of Burgundy where pinot noir is grown. The Giraudon family has been working their vineyards and making wine here for centuries and produce traditional wines in the style of Jacky Truchot. Their 23 ha of vineyards are on south west facing hillsides of Kimmeridgian chalky marl similar to what one finds in Grand Cru Chablis. Yields are kept low and harvesting is done by hand. The Giraudon family makes wine from pinot noir, gamay (Passetoutgrain,) chardonnay (Chablis) and aligoté. Their Pinot Noir is almost translucent and offers great freshness and purity; it is beautifully aromatic, fruity and refreshing. A lovely, ethereal wine!

Olivier Guyot (Marsannay): The Guyot family has been growing grapes in this area since the 1600's. Olivier's wines are regarded as some of the best in Burgundy; they are the love of the French media, are in all the top restaurants, and are sold to private clients around the world. He farms 15 ha of vineyards that extend from Marsannay to Chambolle including Gevrey Chambolle premiers crus and the grand crus of Clos St.-Denis and Clos de la Roche. All vineyards are organic, the best are ploughed by horse (a tractor is used in the generic appellations,) and all work is manual. Indigenous yeasts ferment wine in open wood vats, there is no chaptalization and little or no copper or sulphur is used, as well as little or no filtering and no acidity adjustments or cold stabilization. The wine is aged in new untoasted oak barrels and gravity is used to move juice and wine. His Marsonnay and La Montagne wines are round yet full flavoured with a long finish and represent good value, and his grand crus are magnificent, with good minerality and depth of flavour. These are wines in which to lose yourself. Production is 50,000 bottles.

Fabrice Larochette (Macon-Chaintre): Winemakers from father to son for four generations. Fabrice farms his 10.77 ha in southern Burgundy on the slopes of Chaintré, where southern Burgundy meets Beaujolais. His vineyards, which are located in Mâcon-Village, Saint-Véran and Pouillu-Fuissé, are farmed lutte raisonée. Fermentation is in stainless steel and aging occurs in old 500 to 600 litre old oak barrels. His wines are excellent when released but benefit from several years of aging. Fabrice makes reasonably priced wines that can humble many more expensive chardonnays. Like the winemaker, these wines have big personalities, but with no oak and relatively moderate (13.5) alcohol. Fabrice does not want anything to take away from the essence of the chardonnay grape. It is interesting to note that Pouilly-Fuisse is the only Burgundy appellation outside of the Cote d'Or to be represented in the Hospices de Beaune yearly auction.

Laurent Perrachon (Beaujolais): The Perrachon family has been making wine in Beaujolais since 1601. They own 26 ha of vineyards in Chenas, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent and Saint-Amour crus as well as Beaujolais Village. The vineyards are managed lutte raisonée and to reduce yields. The vines are 30 to 125 years old and are pruned short, weeds are controlled through low level burning, only organic fertilizer is sparingly used and grapes are hand-picked. The wines are aged in 3,000 litre old oak foundres for up to 18 months before they are bottled at the estate around Easter. Their best wines are meant for aging and can do so for 15 to 20 years.


Chateau La Tour Boisee (Minervois): Originally established in 1826 and still owned by the same family, this Domaine is located in the village of Laure-Minervois in the Languedoc, 25 kl east of Carcassonne. The estate covers 80 ha of vineyards and olive groves with some trees dating back to the 17th century. Jean-Louis Poudou, who owns this estate with his wife Marie, practices organic farming. The family has taken care to conserve the finest of the old varieties while updating and improving the rest of the vineyard. The result is a rich diversity of wines which can each be traced back to vines in a specific vineyard.


Francois Pinon (Vouvray): The Pinon family has been making wines in Vouvray for centuries. Francois works his 14 ha of vineyards to strict organic principals; he plows between the vines, does not use chemicals and all new plantings are selections from his own vineyards - no nursery clones are used. Virtually all the vines are chenin blanc with most being at least 25 years old, many are 40 to over 60. Francois believes it is impossible to taste terroir if you do not use indigenous yeast. He uses little if any sulphur because he believes the high level of acidity in the wines acts as a natural preservative. These wines do not undergo malolactic fermentation. All his wines are aged on their lees until final bottling. His main focus is to "not add anything and not remove anything from the grapes potential." His wines are some of the finest from Vouvray.


Domaine Jean Vullien et Fils: This Domaine is located in the village of Fréterive in the heart of Combe de Savoie between Chambéry and Albertville at 300 metres above sea level. The estates 33 ha of vineyards are managed lutte raisonée and are to found around the village on the south facing bottom slopes of the mountains. The wines grow on limestone scree (rubble.) No chemicals are used and the vines are severely pruned of leaves to promote ripeness, and grape bunches are thinned to increase concentration. Wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks and oak barrels are used for aging. Grapes grown for white wine are altesse, chardonnay, jacquère, and roussanne; and for red mondeuse. Their wines are regularly awarded medals at the Concours Generale Agricole de Paris and are mostly enjoyed at the many nearby ski resorts.



Weingut Ratzenberger (Bacharach): The Ratzenberger family has been making wine here for generations. Their estate is located in the tiny village of Steeg in a valley just west of Bacharach at a point where the Rhine flows almost perfectly north. Three of their vineyards are on the steep south facing slopes of the valley and have to be worked entirely by hand. A forth, smaller vineyard is located on equally steep slopes just down the valley and closer to the Rhine.

Vineyards of blue and black slate with steep southern exposures combined with low yields and organic practices, the use of stainless steel and an uncompromising commitment to excellence ensure the production of exceptionally high quality Riesling including Sekt. The stone cellars, which were built from 1850 to 1880, provide naturally cool bottle storage. In these cellars you will find a pupitres where Jochen Ratzenberger riddles his bottles of Sekt, a process he conducts completely by hand. This estate is a member of the VDP (Verban Deutcher Pradikatsweinguter) and adheres to the VDP Classification System which rejects wine as a globalized - read artificial and nondescript - product and represents the highest achievement in German winemaking.


Weingut Hans Wirsching (Iphofen): The Hans Wirsching estate dates from 1630 and is still in the family. Their vineyards total 82 precipitous ha from three sites, all facing south west. They are managed using organic practices and yields are reduced to increase grape quality. The soils are made of a combination of clay, loam and lime. Grapes are by necessity hand-picked and then fermented in stainless steel tanks. Vinfication is reductive, meaning the juice has little if any contact with oxygen. The main grapes grown are silvaner, reisling and scheurebe. Franconia is the home of the finest silvaner wines in the world and where it finds its greatest expression. The finest wines, grown in the clay-limestone soils on the Steigerwald slopes near Iphöfen, have moderate acidity and are dry, mineral, earthy and full bodied, and Hans Wirsching is without question one of its best producers. These wines are "Franconian Dry" with residual sugars of less than 4.g/l and moderate acidity. Suessreserve is never used. This estate is a member of the VDP.



Germano Ettore (Serralunga): Sergio Germano cultivates Barbera d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba and Nebbiolo for Barolo, along with Riesling from his 17.5 ha of vineyards. Annual production is around 90,000 bottles. The Germano family has grown grapes in Serralunga for generations, but Sergio was the first to vinify his own wines starting in 1993. And here we mean Barolo, which the Serralunga area is ideally suited to with top flight nebbiolo vineyards, and also Riesling. Success came quickly and Gambero Rosso has recognized as much by bestowing on Sergio many awards including numerous of it top tri bicchieri. Some critics regard Sergio's Riesling as arguably one of Italy's greatest white wines.

Sergio's vineyards are on steep slopes and are 100% worked by hand, weeds are plowed and newly planted vines are generally from his own grafting's. The harvest is manual and he uses only indigenous yeast for his fermentations. Sergio respects the traditions of his family and his heritage and will never make internationally styled wines.


Pilandro (Lake Garda): Cantina Pilandro and its 16 ha of vineyards are located in the heart of Lugana DOC, on the morainic hills beside Lake Garda. Founded in 1400 and owned by the Lavelli Family, they produce traditional wines exclusively from their own grapes. The vineyards are planted with Turbiana for white wines and Barbera and Merlot for red wines. They make still and sparkling wines in the classic method (spumanti) and have received many awards both nationally and internationally over the years.



Bodegas Hermanos Peciña (San Vicente de la Sonsierra): The Peciña family is not widely known - yet - but makes beautiful, old style, traditional Rioja. They are located in the heart of Rioja Alta on the Sonsierra Riojana and have grown grapes there for 5 generations but only recently started to make their own wine in 1992. They own five organic vineyards totalling 50 ha, all located within 20 km of the winery. These vineyards are planted with tempranillo interspersed with 3% Granciano to obtain greater concentration. One hectare of white viura and one of garnacha are also planted. The grapes are harvested manually from 25 to 50 year old vines and are placed in small 15 kg crates to avoid premature crushing. American and French oak barrels are used for aging. Only indigenous yeast is used and the wines are racked four times without pumping, and no filtration or clarification is used thereby preserving their full character. Their Crianza is more of a Reserva than a Crianza. It is aged for two years in American oak then matured for another two years in bottle before being released. It is superb!

Bodegas y Vinedoa Nekeas (Navarra): Nekeas is a small co-op comprised of eight grape growers from two families. They are located in the village of Añorbe in the Valdizarbe Valley, one of the most northern wine growing areas of Spain. This region is only 4 km long and lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees. There are big differences between the northern end of the valley at 650 metres altitude and the southern end at 430 metres. The southern end is one degree warmer and there is a huge difference in the various vineyards of each grape variety, making for good blending complexity. Wines are produced entirely from estate grown fruit and have been long known for their exceptional quality and good value.

Adegas Valminor (Rias Baixas): From Galacia on the northwest Atlantic Coast of Spain, these are seafood wines to reckon with. A relative newcomer, Adegas Valminor was founded in 2007 and is based in the beautiful O Rosal Valley. It has 34 ha of vineyards and a modern winery that makes superb albariño and albariño blend wines.

referral program