If one person can lay a claim to having family roots in his native region since the 17th century, it’s Pierre-Marie Chermette. He was born in Le Vissoux and his mother’s surname was Vissoux!
Wine growing in this southerly region of Beaujolais therefore spans several generations in the family but when Pierre-Marie took over the estate in 1982, his aim was to give it a new direction. He put an end to bulk wine sales and shunned misguided choices such as using yeast to develop banana aromas as others have been tempted to do.
As the 15-hectare estate embraces a large vineyard with granite soils – in a region mostly home to clay-limestone – there was an opportunity to try wines from old vines using responsible farming methods. The grapes are allowed to ripen well, removing the need to chaptalise, then are sorted, undergo semi carbonic maceration in closed tanks before pressing and fermenting using no chemical yeast. They are then matured in large oak tuns dating back to Pierre-Marie’s great-grandfather, until the spring.
Non-invasive winemaking is the estate’s signature style, yielding a concentrated Beaujolais with aromas of ripe fruits.
This strategy naturally led to success and allowed Pierre-Marie and Martine to buy vineyards in the Beaujolais growths, farther North. They now also market white, rosé and primeur wines as well as Crémants.