Producer Article

Domaine du Vissoux / Pierre-Marie Chermette

Last edited on 9/27/2011 by tooch
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I search out wines as naturally made as possible; but only if this contributes to the wine being better. Domaine du Vissoux may just be the most perfect expression in my whole portfolio of what I seek, for this very ability to be natural and great, at once. First natural. How’s this: Pierre Chermette's yields are so low and the grapes so naturally ripe that he does not chaptalize. He uses only indigenous yeasts (no " banana yeast " culture, a la Duboeuf). Then a traditional, longer fermentation, aging in oak foudre and bottling for us with no filtration, and without adding any sulfites, in most vintages. It is as natural a Beaujolais as one could have had in a café in Lyon in the 40’s. As for quality, Domaine du Vissoux is the Beaujolais at Willi’s in Paris, Cave la Grande, and just about every Bar-A-Vin in Paris. Pierre Chermette and his wife Martine also have wines in two of the Cru. Their parcel of Moulin-A-Vent is named Rochegres, and the wine so structured that it is aged in oak barrique. In Fleurie they have a parcel in Poncie (making perhaps one of the most classic and balanced Fleurie I have ever tasted) and, with ’96, Les Garants (to Fleurie what Romanee-Conti is to Vosne-Romanee.) His one-star rating in Revue du Vin de France Classification "is near". - Peter Weygandt “This domaine owes its fame to its non-chapitalized Beaujolais with fruit of incomparable naturalness and has been popularized by the caves of Legrand in Paris. Pierre-Marie Chermette understood before his competitors did to what point people were mechanically drinking semi-industrial Primeurs and that it was necessary to return to basics and to the source. This wine certainly merits his success because of its astonishing naturalness and the aromatic delicacy of the non-manipulated Gamay Cepage. But the domaine also knows how to produce a wine for short-range laying down that is subtly perfumed. The ‘98s are among the most successful of the decade and the most full-bodied among them deserve a good year’s aging in bottle. Pierre-Marie Chermette has been able recently to buy some very well situated parcels in Fleurie and in Moulin a Vent and since 1994 applies sound principles to their cultivation and vinification, producing exemplary wines. The vines of Poncie are not yet old enough to produce nectar, but with their full southern exposure, their wine is as replete with definition as one could wish. Les Garants produce a very full-bodied Fleurie but softer and with more tones of reglise. From Rochegres comes a Moulin a Vent particularly fine and subtle. It’s here that the potential of the ’98 vintage is shown, when in the right hands.” - Le Classement, 2000 Revue du Vin de France “Regularly at the highest level for several vintages, this is an exemplary domaine. Pierre-Marie Chermette has practically no equal; his wines are so far above the rest that there is no comparison. His efforts in the vines over the last five or six years has yielded such dividends that henceforth we hope the whole profession follows.” - Le Classement, 2010 Revue du Vin de France Pierre Chermette has successfully expanded from his base in southern Beaujolais without quality in any way suffering; on the contrary his mastery of the northern Beaujolais crus is now also a fait accompli. With the new generation coming on and with lots of new plans, following these wines – which, of course, includes in your own cellar – is going to continue to be exciting. Prices have crept upward, but given the quality – not to mention the labors needed to achieve it – one can hardly complain. Yields were very low in 2008, a condition, Chermette opines, for achieving genuine and complete ripeness. (Note that since Chermette’s label now features his name writ large and “Vissoux” in tiny letters, I have listed his wines accordingly.) - David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate