In today’s context, it’s hard to imagine terms like “organic viticulture” and “natural wine” didn’t always exist. Jean Thévenet is largely credited with the development of these work philosophies throughout France in the early 1980’s. Now together with his son Gautier, they tend 15 hectares of vines in a tiny village called Quintaine, which is part of the appellation of Vire-Clesse near Mâcon. This modest and charming vigneron shows that Grand Cru quality chardonnay can be produced outside the Côte-d’Or without the use of new French oak barrels. The wine’s natural fermentation usually takes close to two years, at which time it is bottled and held in the Thévenet’s cellars. Wines are only released when they are beginning to drink well, but the longevity is also astonishing…….10-15 years on most vintages are still going strong. A non-interventionist, Thévenet’s philosophy is to hand pick grapes that are absolutely ripe, even when taking a risk that the weather will turn against him.
- Viré-Clessé “Cuvée E.J Thevenet”