From a hamlet called "Le Vissoux" in the southern Beaujolais
commune of Saint Verand, Pierre-Marie and Martine Chermette make some of the most natural and wild Beaujolais there is- eschewing chaptalization, commercial yeasts or filtration. This intensive natural approach has paid major dividends, as Domaine du Vissoux holds spots on the wine lists many of France's
finest wine bars and restaurants, and is the highest-rated Beaujolais producer in the popular guide "Les Meilleurs Vins de France."
The unique quality of these structured, age-worthy wines comes not only from the sustainable farming and non-inteventionist cellar practices, but from the unique terroir possessed by the domain. The Chermettes' 15 hectares of Gamay
vines (as well as an additional hectare planted Chardonnay)
in Saint-Verand are situated on granitic soil, as opposed to the limestone-clay soil that dominates most of southern Beaujolais. This granitic terroir seems to lend Burgundian structure to these bottlings. Domaine Vissoux also possesses a parcel of Moulin-A-Vent and a parcel in Fleurie. These wines are essentially what we would have enjoyed had we been sitting in a cafe in Lyon in the 1950s -- rather than a few decades later.
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Made from the Gamay grape, the red wines of Beaujolais are mostly exuberantly fruity and brisk wines that are often served lightly chilled for added refreshment. There is also a small amount of white Beaujolais, made from Chardonnay, but little of this is exported to the U.S. Today, the overwhelming majority of Beaujolais production is controlled by negociants, of whom Georges Duboeuf is the undisputed king.
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