'I have grown up in an environment where we advocate zero additives, zero chemicals, and no sulphur. I’ve always learnt to work this way.'
Corentin Houillon’s first wine memories date back to 1991, when he was foot treading the Poulsard grapes from the legendary Pierre Overnoy. Having the chance to be fully immersed in such a family from a young age is of course a huge asset. Those experiences were a decisive influence in his decision to become a winemaker, and he went on to study wine in Beaune and Montpellier. Corentin subsequently worked with some stellar estates that are at the forefront of Biodynamic farming in France, such as Domaine Tissot in Jura and Domnique Derain in Burgundy. He then travelled to the New World to broaden his experiences, and finally began making wine in Switzerland under his name for La Ville de Morges, where we first tasted his craft. At the time, he told us that he has been looking for a place to start his own project, and that he would not be too far from his native Jura, and close to Switzerland as his wife is from there.
We were really happy to hear back that Corentin has found this real gem in the Chautagne region, literally a 5 min drive from Marie and Florian Curtet. He is now looking after 5ha of steep vineyards (Altesse, Jacquère, Pinot, Gamay & Mondeuse) that comes as one single block, all planted on "molasses soils" surrounded by forest.
We visited the vineyards in June 2020 in the early afternoon. The vineyard has no neighbours at all, just their cellar at the bottom of the hill. Corentin works mainly with concrete tanks and barrels, giving the wines time and oxygen. Talking to him is quite invigorating as he has quite a lot of energy, and he laughs a lot too. He knows exactly what he wants to do, and has invested a lot in state of the art equipment to work the soil in his particular conditions, and in some instances, has built his own bespoke tools that are better suited.
After the successful first release of his 2019 wines last year, we are extremely excited to now have a full range of Corentin’s wines from the vintage 2020, including the skin contact cuvée Zénith.