2004 Domaine des Valanges St. Veran
1979, Michel Paquet returned from his military service. His wife,
Jocelyne was pregnant. He had no work and no prospects. He learned that
a local wine shop was looking for a wine salesman. Michel didn't know
too much about wine, but he did know that his 150FF/month stipend from
the Army wasn't going to support a family of three. He took the job. He
rented a house in the winemaking town of Davaye, the capital of the St.
Veran appellation. His rent was 300 French Francs per/month.
In 1980, tragedy created opportunity. The son of a winemaking neighbor
in Davaye, committed suicide, jumping off the St. Laurent bridge in
Macon to his death. It took Michel months ("I must have passed the
house 10 times intending to knock without doing so") to muster the
strength to ask the family about their intentions with the 2.5 acres of
vines that the son had farmed. As no one else in Davaye dared make the
same request, the family agreed to rent the land to the Paquets to
first vintage with the new acreage was 1981. A spring frost nearly
wiped out the harvest and the Paquets were 20,000 Francs in the hole
before they even got started. Paquet was frightened for the future, but
he loved his new work. Then, at the end of 1981, tragedy struck for a
second time. The father of the of the boy who had jumped from the St.
Laurent bridge, also took his own life. In 1982, the Paquets found
themselves farming 11 pristine acres of Chardonnay in the heart of St.
The Paquets have never forgotten their history. When you see them in
their beautifully renovated home above Davaye, you realize at once that
their mentality is different from their winemaking neighbors. While
most of the winemakers of Davaye have a long family history in the
vines, these families have little debt and take little risk. The
Paquets, while their wines continually share the top marks (along with
the Corsins) in St. Veran tastings, have plenty of debt, and take every
risk in order to improve quality.
This 2004 St. Veran is another brilliant Chardonnay from a winemaker
who just continues to live life by rolling the dice. Fresh and vibrant
with classic green apple fruit, this wine speaks to the purity of best
Chardonnay of St. Veran. Vinified without barrels that would mask the
minerality of the soil, this is a wine that accompanies most foods.
While drinking well upon release, it can be cellared for up to 5 years.