Domaine Carrette Is located in the village of Vergisson, pretty much at the foot of the famous rock of Solutré, which is in the heart of Pouilly-Fuisse. With a little less than fourteen hectares, eight of which are in Pouilly-Fuisse and three of which are in the neighboring St. Veran, this is a small, family-owned winery.
It began in 1980 when Henri Carrette, then a farmer-sharecropper, managed to buy the land. His son, Jean-Michel, built up the winery to its present size and still works manually in the vineyards though he is near retirement. His wife, Denise, works part time when needed. Henri (now eighty-four)and his wife still live next to the winery and, though of course retired, frequently welcome guests to taste the wines.
The estate is now run by Jean-Michel’s son, Hervé, and his oenologist wife, Natalie. He approaches wine making more or less as a farmer, working in the vineyards and in the cellar the old-fashioned way. Natalie works in the lab.Together they make technical decisions early in the morning, and then Natalie, who did her studies in Oenology and Agronomy at the National School of Agronomy of Montpellier, samples and analyzes in the evening after returning from her day job. (She consults for some fifty other wineries in Beaujolais, Burgundy and the Auvergne – a very busy winemaker!) It’s a fascinating combination with both a peasant farmer perspective as well as a highly sophisticated technical one.
In the early days, almost all the wine was sold in bulk. Henri began to bottle some of his wine in the ‘70s, before becoming owner of the Domain. But bottling only began seriously in 2008. That said, they have a large collection of all vintages going back to 1976.
The Carrettes work very carefully in the vineyard and depending on weather conditions they prefer to protect their plants with organic products and use traditional plowing to improve air circulation. In the cellar a cold soak and soft press aim at bringing forth clear fruit aromas. Spontaneous fermentation on native yeast, primary as well as malo-lacitic add extra complexity to their wines. The wines then age on their lees and are bottled in spring for the fresher wines and late summer for the more characterful Le Crays and Les Mures.
Most importantly, these are wines of terroir, meant to express in the clearest terms the soil and culture of the area as well as the personalities of the wine makers.
THE STORY OF THE ESTATE
Carrette Domaine is located in Vergisson, at the foot of La Roche [The Rock], in a delicious stone-strewn vineyard landscape.
The vineyards are spread over 13 hectares (32 acres), reaching out to five communes: