Gilles Berlioz is gifted in the arts of viticulture and vinification, and this is evident in the way he treats his 5-hectare domain as though it were a most precious garden. ‘A must-have domain’, according to La Revue du Vin de France. It was recently renamed ‘Domaine Partagé’, which is very telling of the philosophy followed here…
It is not simply a vineyard that the Berlioz family grows, but a veritable garden that is cared for with all the love and respect a wine maker should have. In 1990, Gilles inherited a little, family vineyard of Jacquère and Mondeuse vines. Since this was not enough to live off, Gilles was also a landscapist. Little by little, he expanded his domain to the size of 7 hectares in 1999. At this time the domain was still following ‘conventional’ growing techniques, with just half a hectare treated organically. In 2004, Gilles decided to reduce the size of his vineyard in order to work entirely organically. And this year, the domain has taken another step forward, as it now has a Demeter certificate in biodynamics, a true feat in a climate as demanding as that of the Savoy mountains!
The Berlioz family’s little vineyard is located in a dreamy landscape 14km south of Chambéry and looking upon the southern face of the Massif des Bauges, perfectly exposed.
It is made up of three, distinct islands of parcels:
- Bordiot: 85 ares of Mondeuse, 15 ares of Persan
- Les Châteaux: 3 hectares of Chignin-Bergeron
- Les Crays : 50 ares of Jacquère and 30 ares of Roussette de Savoie
The grape varieties are chosen based on the properties of the parcel (exposure to the sun, type of soil etc) in order for the resulting wine to be of the best quality possible and to reflect the characteristics of its terroir. The entire domain is worked with horses, and the golden rule is ‘one cuvée per parcel’, with the original properties of each one highlighted in the wine. These wines are matured in egg-shaped vats made of fibre glass. The vinifications are totally natural, with no added yeasts, and the wines are matured very delicately. A domain producing ‘haute couture’ wines unlike any other in the Savoy region!
The exceptional quality of these wines comes not only from the work in the vineyards and the winery, but also from the philosophy that underpins the domain. As the name would suggest, there is a real sense of sharing here, a domain founded on the connection between all members of the team, the exchange of ideas and trust in each other’s work. Solidarity is fundamental. More recently, the domain has been welcoming woofers from the world over, nourishing further the team’s philosophy. Gilles explains how the domain functions without any subsidies in order to have true liberty in what they do. Respect is at the heart of their activity, for the vines, the wine and the people who contribute to this success.
What do the guides say?
Le Guide Vert by La Revue du Vin de France
‘All of these wines offer clean, serene expressions with great depth of flavour. Seasoned wine lovers fight over these masterful cuvées, very limited in volume. The domain’s welcome is warm and passionate. A must-try producer, to whom we are very happy to accord a second star.’
‘The wines are pure and age well. The 2016 and 2017 vintages are great successes with a smaller range. In 2018, a vintage of quality and quantity alike, the young whites lost in finesse what the Mondeuse gained in complexity and juice.’
Wines from this domain
Bergeron is the name given to Roussane in Savoie. In the appellation of Chignin, Bergeron wines are therefore 100% Roussane. This cuvée, launched in 2015, has been a magnificent success. More accessible than its big bother “Les Fripons”, this wine is ideally drunk young. Freshness – Savoie wines’ key strength – marries wonderfully with the richness of Roussane. We recommend comparing this cuvée with northern Rhône wines: Les Fripponnes is tauter, with a superb, mineral finish.
Extremely delicate and harmonious, this wine is the domain’s flagship wine. It is characterised by its notes of white flowers, dried fruits and vegetal aromas. The mouth has a nice minerality which brings tension and energy to the wine. Will go very well with slightly saline foods.
As always, Gilles Berlioz produced this single-parcel cuvée by eschewing inputs, yeasts and only using tiny quantities of sulfites. The berries were left to ferment in low temperatures. Tasted within its first ten years, with freshwater fish or Savoy cheeses, this wine has a beautifully intense, yellow colour. On the palate, a pronounced minerality elevates the fruity and floral bouquet of this Roussanne.
The “Les filles” cuvée is a fine gastronomic wine, at once rich and complex, intensely fruity while fresh and digestable. The grapes are grown in certified organic and biodynamically-cultivated parcels. No inputs or yeasts are added, and only a small amount of sulphites is used. Its brilliantly clear, lemon yellow colour reveals a superb bouquet of stone fruits, white flowers and fresh herbs. This wine deserves to be aged for a good few years (up to twelve years), and should be decanted in order to unleash its wonderful purity. Excellent at aperitif with a Tomme de Savoie!
Recognisable by its beautiful label, this is a cuvée that pays homage to women, particularly Gilles’ wife, Christine. One of the domain’s biggest successes, this is a gentle blend of ripe, yellow fruits and a delicate minerality. It will pair nicely with refined, Savoy cheeses and fish.