"This film is a paean to an ancient craft without a hint of bombast or polemic, gentle and old-fashioned and at some moments, like the closing scenes of autumn smoke rising from the pruners’ fires, it’s lyrical."
— Decanter Magazine
A Year in Burgundy follows seven wine making families through the course of an entire year.
Maison Leroy has a long and illustrious history. Founded in 1868 by the great grandfather of the current owner, Lalou Bize-Leroy now presides over what is regarded as one of the great estates in the Burgundy region. Born to the wine trade, Lalou joined her father’s négociant business in 1955. She initially attained fame as the winemaker at the iconic Domaine de la Romanée Conti, where she remains co-owner. Firmly anchored as a grande dame of Burgundy, she has been unapologetically committed to cultivating her vines with biodynamic practices since 1989. Madame Bize-Leroy is completely connected to the life of her vines and completely dedicated to biodynamic farming techniques. The results in her wine have made her one of the most formidable domains and personalities in all of Burgundy.
Lalou has a unique connection to each of her plots, treating them individually, listening to their unique notes as one would listen to individual instruments at a concert. A hands-on producer, she carefully supervises every phase of growth, harvest and production. It’s a dedication that is not only focused on ecological practices, but reaches the heights of spiritual devotion. This commitment has resulted in wines described as both magnificent and profound.
With three generations of talented wine growers solidly behind him, and an early career as a “courtier,” Christophe Perrot-Minot has guided his family’s domaine through transitions to be an incredibly modern, efficient and cutting-edge property. Besides implementing many newer techniques, such as replacing traditional filtration by his own “filter-by-gravity” system, Christophe is a firm believer in non-interventionist winemaking. He uses no chemical fertilizers on the vines, some of which are at least 45-years old, and the grapes are picked then sorted only by hand.
One cannot deny that the journey that Christophe Perrot-Minot has taken — experiencing the multiple facets of the trade, tasting, selling, buying and creating — has enriched his winemaking and farming skills. The results have anchored Christophe as a rising star in the region.
With uncles, cousins, parents and grandparents all in the wine business, Michel Morey and Fabienne Coffinet joined the fray with their own winemaking pursuits in 1979, by farming 7-hectares of vines given to them as a wedding present. Although they farmed the land and produced high quality juice from these vines, Michel and Fabienne didn’t start their own estate bottling until 1990. Now only 10% of their production finds its way to négociants.
Michel now runs the vineyard with his son, Thibault. They meticulously nurture their lands by careful farming practices, avoiding pesticides, fertilizers and green pruning. The family also cares for the 19th century mansion they purchased which sits atop cellars dating back to the 16th century.
Domaine Bruno Clavelier
Bruno Clavelier is not only a trained oenologue but also an amateur geologist and former professional rugby player. Originally taking over the family’s property from his maternal grandfather, Joseph Brosson in 1987, Bruno now farms his lands bio-dynamically and has obtained organic certification. He studies the soils of all his vineyards, just over 6-hectares, which helps him craft his wines so that they truly express the various terroirs found throughout the domaine. When it comes to vinification, low-intervention is the rule, no matter which parcel is being handled. Bruno is not interested in imposing the hand of the vintner, instead taking the view that each wine should display its special characteristics in an honest and truly grounded way.
Starting in 1956 with a single hectare of vines, the Domaine Mortet is truly a family affaire. In 1978, Denis Mortet and his wife Laurence joined forces with his father, Charles, to begin to create and nurture their small scale bottled wine sales. Says Laurence: “The profession of winegrower involves lots of thoroughness but also lots of imagination! Wine is what dreams are made of. The end result should be allowed to express all of its senses.”
Arnaud, Denis and Laurence’s son, entered the company in 2000 and took the helm after his father's death in 2005. Arnaud carries with him his forefathers’ approach to farming and respect of the vines.
Domaine Michel Gay & Fils
Michel Gay and his son Sebastian, fourth and fifth generation respectively, started the domain in 1992 with 6.5 hectares. They now have a wonderful collage of terroir, sampling from across the region and totaling 9.5 hectares. They farm these lands organically with the belief that great wines are made in the vineyard as opposed to the winery. They tend the grapes by hand-pruning and practice multiple "green harvests" to coax these 40 and 60-year-old vines into concentrating their energy into the few select clusters that remain.
With an infectious smile and humble demeanor, Domaine Michel Gay & Fils shows us that the next generation is poised to carry the torch forward. By respecting the vines and land, they produce wines that are intimate, alluring and passionate — but not aggressive.
Domaine Cornin is rich in family history, passing along winemaking knowledge from father to son and from generation to generation. In fact, Dominique Cornin is still harvesting fruit from vines planted by his grandfather back in 1938. Officially certified as organic in 2009, Dominique is personally committed to biodynamic practices, which for him means he is allowing the lands to express themselves in their own voice. By subtly guiding his wines from vine to bottle with this low-intervention approach, he brings emphasis to the voice of each individual parcel.
Says Dominique: “Our wines are like you, like me — sometimes reserved or shy, sometimes flirtatious, high-spirited or laughing. They evolve and mature but never lie. They are authentic, in short, alive. Over vintages and time, they unveil their multiple facets. Love them simply for who they are and they will give back tenfold.”
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