J.M. Berrux - Le Petit Têtu 2014
Region: Meursault / Burgundy
The wine can be characterised by a few traits, which we find year after year, even though there are very obvious vintage variations too. There is always a rich, powerful nose of stone fruit pulp and a soft almost tropical nectar thing. The grapes are ripe, but not over the top. There is also always a hint of musk, and a lemongrass note. And the palate is always spritely, sharp, sometimes laser-like. In cooler years, it can be bracing in youth, but softens and calms as it ages (YES, you really can age some sulphur free wines, I confirm).
The farming is Biodynamic, and completely hands-on. The tiny size of the farm means Jean-Marie can do absolutely everything himself, when the time is right (obviously with a bit of help during harvest, but that only lasts 2 or 3 days). The neighbouring vineyards are all biodynamic and/or organic, which is obviously a major bonus.
Once the grapes have been carefully hand harvested, they are whole bunch pressed and sent for a long slow fermentation in barriques and foudres, generally 2-5 year old oak. The wines stay there, un-racked and undisturbed for about a year. Prior to the next harvest, the barrels are assembled and the wine rests in tank for a further few months prior to bottling.
And that’s it. Nothing added, nothing taken away. No SO2 at any stage. Beautiful, natural, Burgundy.
Jean-Marie Berrux and his family live in Meursault, in a beautiful happy house which also contains an old cuverie and underground cellar. It’s not a big space, but just enough to produce and age the roughly 5,000 bottles of wine for their micro farm.
They are outsiders, originally from the Alpine region of Savoie. This is perhaps a blessing in disguise, as it meant Jean-Marie had no overbearing father vigneron to tell him how one must make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir using chemistry ! Actually, his parents had a big influence on how Jean-Marie farms, but in a very positive way. The family business was market farming, growing organic fruit and veg for sale around the Alps.
After a short taste of the city life, Jean-Marie moved to Beaune to study winemaking in the late 90s, then after a couple of years working with others to learn the practical aspects, managed to acquire 1.5ha of Chardonnay vineyards just outside of Puligny-Montrachet. He made his first wine in 2004.