Born and raised in the Savoie, Jean-Yves studied winemaking in Bordeaux in the late 90’s. Following graduation, Jean-Yves went to work for Thierry Allemand in Cornas and then with Bruno Schuller in Alsace. Having these two as mentors shaped Jean-Yves and is reflected in his passion for natural winemaking. He first encountered wine made without sulfur working at Willakenzie Winery in the Willamette Valley and was intrigued!
When he returned home in 2004, he began making wine in the village of Chevaline. The vineyards are sloping between 350-500 meters and covered in schist. Working the vineyards at this altitude in the French Alps is a bit like mountain climbing so all vineyard work, including picking is done by hand. This also saved the vines from phylloxera and from chemical manipulation - Jean-Yves believes the work required is worth it! The opportunity to work with vines that can range over 100-years old on ancient terrior is priceless. And while all his work, both in the vineyard as well as in the winery, is biodynamic, Jean-Yves does not seek certification preferring to let the wines speak for themselves.
His family estate is divided into several micro-parcels containing Mondeuse, Jacquere, Altesse, and Roussanne. And in 2005, he began working with new plantings of Persan (a vanishing red varietal once considered the finest of the region in the 19th century) and white Altesse (or Roussette, often identified as the Hungarian Furmint).
The reds tend to be made carbonically and some of the whites see extended maceration times, influenced by Jean-Yves' love for the Northern Italian “orange” wines. In the next few years he hopes to plant 2 ha more vines featuring some forgotten local varietals and also make more apple cider.
Jean-Yves is a vigneron who is patiently reviving ancient, almost forgotten vineyards in the French Alps. From his first vintage, his delicious, radically natural wines continue to redefined the Savoie’s and its potential.
On a personal note, Jean-Yves is one of the kindest, most generous vignerons I have met. He is always working with young, potential winemakers - encouraging and educating them so they can go into the world doing no harm. A visit to his house resulted in time on the terrace tasting and talking - neighbors came by to buy wine and we left with magnums as it was Owen's birthday. Such a great time!!
And although it took a few years for him to have enough wine for us, we are so proud to introduce his amazing wines to Washington and Oregon!!
Click on the labels below for
detailed information about each wine