Benjamin Gonçalves and Mallory Talmard The Talmards have grown vines in the Mâconnais since the 17th century, though the current domaine dates only to 1971, when Paul Talmard withdrew from the local cooperative to estate bottle his own wine. In 1997 he was joined by his daughter Mallory and her husband Benjamin, who now farm 27 hectares in the villages of Uchizy, Montbellet, Chardonnay, Tournus, and Farges-lès-Mâcon. Most of the vineyards grow on well-exposed, steep limestone hillsides, which minimize the yields, and maximize concentration and quality. The grapes are fermented and matured on their lees for two to three months in stainless-steel tanks (there is no wood at Cave Talmard), and the wine is bottled in the spring after the harvest.
Robert Ampeau in 2003 (photo: Greg Moore) Robert Ampeau was a legendary figure, and an admired colleague of the most important producers in Burgundy, including Aubert de Villaine, Lalou Bize-Leroy, Dominique Lafon, and Hubert de Montille, whose cellars all contain Ampeau wine. Ruth Reichl, the last Editor-in Chief of Gourmet magazine, recorded the impression that Ampeau made on other producers in her 1998 memoir, Tender at the Bone, in which she recorded her visit to the Volnay producer Hubert de Montille, accompanied by the wine merchant, Kermit Lynch. Kermit had brought along a bottle of one of Ampeau’s wines (label removed) “to see what he really thinks.” “There is sunlight in the glass,” de Montille said finally, “much sunlight. It is from a very good year…what can it be?” When Kermit told him what it was, de Montille cried, “But I have this wine in my cellar!” He turned eagerly to Kermit and asked, “Did Ampeau sell it to you?” Kermit nodded smugly. “Consider yourself ho
Gilles Marsaudon and Marie-Hélène Leonard in their vines Marie-Hélène Leonard Was born and raised in Cognac, and grew up in the wine industry, eventually heading the sales department for one of Bordeaux's largest négociants. Gilles Marsaudon, owned a company specializing in trade show marketing to the Bordeaux wine trade. In 2002 the two purchased the old, run-down Château de Monteberiot in Côtes de Bourg. The reclamation of the vineyards and buildings has focused entirely on the vines and finished wine–no money has gone into "tasting rooms." The 17 acres of vines in production are planted to clay/limestone soils much like St. Emilion to the south. Approximately 75% is planted to Merlot, 22% to Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest to Cabernet Franc. In 2003 a small plot was also planted to Côt (Malbec). The vineyards are being retrained to lutte raisonée.
"Tuscany's strength, like that of any wine producing region, lies in the typicity of the wines, the unique characteristics that make the wines undeniably Tuscan," says Paolo De Marchi. Since the 1970s when he took the reigns of his family's estate in Tuscany, Paolo has become a leader in the evolution of modern Chianti. When asked about all of the changes that have taken place in his region he points out that, “Tradition, doesn't mean always making the same thing. Tradere from Latin–transport and deliver–we take the best from the past, add our current knowledge, and we prepare the way for those who will come after. We have to face the future, but with a solid foundation in where we come from in order to know where we want to be tomorrow. My focus on Sangiovese recognizes the connection, the ‘genetics’ of Tuscany.” Paolo on the evolution of modern Chianti (part 1) Paolo on the evolution of modern Chianti (part 2) Paolo on the evolution of modern Chianti (finding
Andrea, Gianni, and Mattia Piccoli The late, Gianni Piccoli was as stubborn as he was modest and self-effacing, with no interest in following the easy paths to guaranteed market share if they mean compromising his principles. He and his sons Mattia, Andrea, and Stefano simply made the best wine in Bardolino. Which is how they find the best customers. Corte Gardoni was established in 1980, when Gianni decided that his beautiful grapes–carefully farmed at low yields on the stony slopes of the moraine in Valeggio sul Mincio–would no longer be sold in bulk, to be blended anonymously in the vats of industrial wineries like Bolla and Folonari that still dominate Bardolino. Building a winery was a risky undertaking in a region that had such little prestige, but Gianni Piccoli never looked back. Today, under the direction of his son Mattia, Corte Gardoni supplies the finest Bardolino and Custoza to nearly every Michelin starred restaurant in Italy.
Marjorie and Stéphane Gallet in Montner These wines come from selected parcels grown in the stony, red clay soil of Rivesaltes, and are made at the Cave Cooperative de Rivsaltes under the direction of Stéphane and Marjorie Gallet of Roc des Anges. By helping the cooperative’s growers understand the benefits of sustainable farming, limited yields and harvesting before the grapes are over mature, the Gallets are hoping to raise the general quality of wine in their appellation. It’s demanding work, but the results are producing the finest wines ever made at the Cave Cooperative de Rivesaltes.
Domenico Almondo The Almondos have grown grapes in Roero for more than three centuries, but it was Domenico’s father, Giovanni Almondo, who was the first to bottle a tiny quantity of wine. The estate comprises six hectares of Arneis, the noble white variety of Piemonte; four hectares of Nebbiolo for the Roeros; one-and-a-half hectares of Barbera; and a tiny parcel of Brachetto, for the delicate, sweet sparkling red Mosto Parzialmente Fermentato “Fosso della Rosa.” With the day-to-day operations in the hands of Domenico, who is both an uncompromising perfectionist in the vineyard and an immensely talented winemaker, the estate is widely regarded as the top producer in Roero.
Fabrice Gasnier in Chinon When we last saw Fabrice Gasnier at his beautiful home in Cravant-les-Coteaux, he had just completed a five-year transformation of his 24-hectare estate to biodynamics; the agricultural discipline based on a series of lectures by Rudolph Steiner titled The Spiritual Foundation for the Renewal of Agriculture. Steiner was an Austrian philosopher active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who is best known today as the founder of the Waldorf Schools. It would be easy to describe biodynamics as something like “Organic Plus,” but more than simple labor-intensive organic farming, biodynamics includes a strong belief in interdependence among the “forces” of Earth, Life, and Cosmos. “In the past,” Fabrice says, “we would have sprayed fungicide in the vineyard whenever we had cold, wet weather.” Scooping up a handful of clay-calcareous soil he smiles and says, “But I don't think that way anymore. Now when I see mildew in the vines, I see it as
Raphaël and Vincent Bérêche The original Bérêche estate is centered around 2.5 hectares of vines established by Leon and Albert Bérêche in 1847. Successive generations expanded the property, and today there are a total of 9.5 ha in and around the communes of Craon de Ludes, Ormes, Trépail, and Mailly, all in the Montagne de Reims, as well as the area around Mareuil-le-Port on the left bank of the Marne. The 0.15 ha Mailly parcel, acquired in 2012, is their first Grand Cru vineyard. Since joining their father Jean-Pierre in 2004 and 2008 respectively, Raphaël and Vincent Bérêche have risen to the head of the class of Champagne’s corp of elite grower producers. Most of their wines are sold directly to private customers, who drive from Brussels and Paris and London to pick up their six or twelve bottle allocations at the winery in Craon de Ludes. Almost all the rest goes to Michelin-starred, like Gérard Boyer’s iconic Les Crayères in Reims, or to specialist retailers like Le Ver
>Matt Cline in the old vineyards of Oakley Along with Joel Peterson at Ravenswood in Sonoma, and Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards in Santa Cruz, Matt Cline was one of the original champions of single-vineyard, old-vine Zinfandel. Before establishing Three Wine Company in 2006, Matt was a founding partner of Trinitas Cellars (which he sold in 2006), and had worked with his brother Fred at Cline Cellars. Along the way, he has quietly produced some of the most dramatic red wines ever made in California, mostly from grapes purchased under contract with third and fourth generation farmers of ancient parcels in Oakley and Lodi in Contra Costa County.