In the 1950s not a single producer in the region of Macon bottled his own wine for resale. All of these small landowners sold their grapes in bulk to the local cooperative, where all of the grapes were mixed into one homogenized blend. Andre Bonhomme was the son of one of these producers. He was ingenious and indefatigable in the vineyards and loathed selling his perfectly farmed grapes to the Co-op for marginally more than the farming cost. In 1955, Andre finally butted heads with his father, demanding that they take the risk of vinifying, bottling and selling their wine under the family name. Word has it that the arguments were heated, but finally young Andre won out. He never looked back.
Today, Bonhomme is in his early 70s and he tends his vines with his wife, his daughter and son-in-law. Their wines have graced the wine lists of 3-star restaurants like Taillevent in Paris and Troisgros in Roanne. Bonhomme's fruit is pristine, the result of small yields and garden-like care. When visiting Bonhomme, he's fond of opening old bottles. The ageworthiness of the Vire-Clesse is more similar to great Meursault than to Macon.
The 2003 vintage was unusually warm in Burgundy, a vintage where the fruit was exceedingly ripe, but acids were sometimes precariously low. It was a year for the great viticulturalists like Bonhomme, who were able to manage the heat, harness the concentration while preserving the freshness of the finished wine. Bonhomme is also a master in the cellar where he always seems to find excellent balance with judicious use of wood. This wine is twenty percent barrel-fermented. Only twenty percent of the barrels are new.