Meet Morgane Seuillot, a native Burgundian. Her father trained the horses that plough vineyards up and down Burgundy.
Meet Christian Knott, an Aussie from Bondi, Sydney, living in Burgundy since 2009. He’s the winemaker at Chandon de Briailles in Savigny.
Ironically, Morgane first heard of Christian over dinner one night in…Melbourne, Australia. He wasn’t there, but his name came up when Morgane expressed her interest to, upon her return home, find some vineyards, farm them organically, and make wine. A present pair of Aussie Burg importers knew Christian and told Morgane to look him up when she returned home – “He’s an Aussie winemaker in Burgundy working organically, and he tends the (only!) Espresso cart at the Saturday market in Beaune.”
It took her six months after arriving back home to finally seek Christian and his coffee out. She showed up at his stand with freshly baked raspberry muffins (picked from her garden that morning – she is Burgundian, after all), and Christian fell in love (obviously).
She had already been busy in those six months looking for affordable yet provocative Pinot, Gamay, and Aligoté vineyards in the “Hautes Côtes” – those beautiful, halcyon hills above Burgundy’s Rodeo Drive of Premier and Grand Crus, the Côte d’Or.
Today, she owns/leases 6 different parcels (which total a whopping less than 4 hectares) up there. She spends most of her time in her vineyards, doing all of the work herself (with the occasional help of her father’s horses, Safran and Reine, and, when she really needs him, her occasional consultant, Christian, whose day job at Chandon de Briailles has allowed him to experiment with progressive, organic and natural winemaking methods…with Premier and Grand Cru vineyards and fruit).
Vigne travaillée à la main et au cheval.
Vin sans intrants ni sulfites.
Her parcels aren’t just vineyards, they’re diverse, living, holistic ecosystems, tended with the care of their mother.
In the cellar, she adds nothing (no sulphur, no nothing) and native ferments in concrete – the reds whole bunch and partial carbonic, and the whites partial whole bunch and hand destemmed. She presses in an old, wood-beam, vertical screw press, and ages the wines in neutral oak under their house, called the presbytère because it’s where the priest resided in the old days next to the church in their town, Mavilly-Mandelot.
They’re racked once at hand-bottling.
Her Pinot is typically as deep and rich as you expect from a Grand Cru with more beyond-fruit, savory, spice and herbal elements than just plain strawberries and raspberries (a reflection of her vineyard-garden, home to more than just plain vines).
Unfortunately, she makes too little of her Aligoté – planted in 1944 in and around bulging limestone mother rock; whose raw brawn pushes the parameters of this variety – to import regularly.
Meet Safran. He is a very good boy.
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