- Vineyard Area: 30 ha
- Soil Type: Clay & limestone
- Varieties Cultivated: Chardonnay, Gamay
- Country: France
- Winemaker: Christophe Cordier
- Topography: Gentle Slopes
Christophe Cordier is the third generation of his family to work the vines of southern Burgundy. His father, Roger Cordier, established the current family estate in 1968 in the village of Fuissé with only five hectares of vineyards, and Christophe joined him in 1987, determined to create great wines from the terroirs of the Mâconnais. In an area known for simple, over-produced wines he has been one of the rare pioneers to study the soils and farm, vinify and bottle the best terroirs of the region. To accomplish this, Christophe explains, “I did exactly the opposite of what I learned in school. I learned that to make great wines, I would need to take great risks.” Influenced by the meticulous, detail-oriented work modeled by the premier estates of the Côte d’Or, he has created a range of wines that are reminiscent of Puligny-Montrachet with the undeniable stamp of the Mâconnais.
Over the years, Christophe has added to the family holdings through the purchase of three domaines: one in Pouilly’s commune of Fuissé, one in Mâcon’s commune of Leynes and another in the prestigious Milly-Lamartine, his most recent acquisition also around Mâcon. In 2003, he also created a small, specialized boutique négociant firm under his own name to source fruit from only the best old-vine parcels; he works closely with the growers to establish strict farming specifications and practices. In 2012, he built a new winery to vinify both the Domaine Cordier and Christophe Cordier wines, in full view of many of his vineyards as well as the legendary Roche du Solutré.
Today, he farms and manages 30 hectares in clay and limestone soils, spread over 100 individual parcels and nine villages, which he bottles into 22 cuvees for Domaine Cordier and 10 for Christophe Cordier. All but one of his parcels is planted to Chardonnay. Eighteen of his holdings are situated in lieux-dits, with ten in AOC Pouilly-Fuissé alone. In 2013, he acquired a parcel in the highly pedigreed Mâcon Milly Lamartine “Clos du Four,” which is regarded as the finest parcel in southern Burgundy. Given that the vignerons of the Mâconnais have long been petitioning to promote many of these single-vineyards to premier cru status, Christophe will be well poised when the INAO officially awards some of them elevated status in 2014. He has already been farming them as premier crus for years. In order to achieve quality fruit, everything is done by hand. He strives for unusually low yields for the region, 30 hectoliters per hectare and 25 hl/ha in lower-yielding vintages such as 2012, which he accomplishes through severe de-budding, plowing, and short-pruning. Leaf-pulling is used occasionally on north-facing slopes to aerate the vines when temperatures rise. He employs both sustainable and organic farming practices, and he uses natural composts, infusions and silicas to treat the vines. All harvests are performed manually.
The new winery, constructed in 2012, is impeccably kept and entirely temperature-controlled. Equipped with gravity-fed, stainless steel decanting tanks, two aging cellars for the barrels and one for foudres, both the space and modern equipment allow Christophe to meet his high standards for making “grands vins.” After the harvest, the grapes are sorted and pressed gently in whole clusters. The juice is then racked into both barrels (only 10 percent new) and old foudres, depending on the cuvee, where they undergo long natural fermentations (sometimes up to 6 months) and are aged on fine lees for 12 to 18 months. Malolactic fermentation is always done. Christophe uses two Burgundian cooperages, François-Frères and Séguin-Moreau, with whom he works to find the perfect wood and toast for his cuvees. The extended aging of the wines on their lees makes it possible for the wines to stabilize themselves naturally and be bottled unfined and unfiltered—a rarity for white wines. These finely structured, exquisite cuvees stand to forever change the face of the Mâconnais.