A Wine Writers View on the World of Wine
Recently I had the fortune of having my first article published by Harpers. A small step to what I hope will be the beginning of a career in wine writing.
The link below is how the original article was shown in Harpers.
The article below is the full version of what was published in the 13/01/2012 edition of the magazine.
The piece came under the title:
VERY IMPORTANT PRODUCER
MAISON DES BULLIATS
Maison des Bulliats
It was whilst holidaying in the Auvergne region that the Lockwood’s first thought about buying a vineyard. Helen says ‘We had become fond of the little known wines from the region, with their rather unique character emanating from its volcanic terrain. Approaching retirement from our university teaching careers we were ready for new challenges. A life close to the soil. Making a product that we both enjoy, red wine.’ For Fred, going back to his childhood ‘I grew up on a small farm in Canada and Felt the tug of the land.’
Unsuccessful in finding a site in the Auvergne, the Lockwood’s bought Maison des Bulliats in Régnié, situated between the more noted Cru regions of Morgon and Brouilly.
There is quite a simple philosophy at Maison des Bulliats, as Fred says ‘Really, all we want is to make wine which is appreciated and a small profit.’ A sentiment which is probably echoed by all commercial wine producers. The appreciation side hasn’t been lost on two of wines biggest critics. Robert Parker scored their 08-09 vintages 88-89 points whilst Jancis Robinson recommended the 2010 vintage as one of the best this year.
Régnié is one of the smallest Cru regions of Beaujolais with 650 hectares under vine. Maison des Bulliats occupy 7.75 hectares. Sitting on gentle southeast facing slopes this allows the vines protection from prevailing winds and granting the fruit maximum sunshine. The soil base is predominantly granite with some areas a blend of granite and sand. The Gamay grapes come from vines with an average age of 40 years, producing around 200 hectolitres of juice.
Gamay rules in Beaujolais. 98% of vines planted produce this varietal. Currently the Lockwood’s are making Cru Régnié but this year they have declassified a small amount of wine to Beaujolais Villages. Fred says ‘The name is better known than Régnié and it may improve our market possibilities.’
Still relatively new to wine production, Fred and Helen have no immediate plans for expansion, as Fred says ‘The market is difficult. If the market were easier we could increase our bottle sales, engage a manager, anticipate a profit and much less work. There are two problems for Beaujolais. Its reputation suffered severely under the Nouveau craze, too easy to sell and the quality fell. Now you can add the recession.’
This hasn’t stopped them looking further afield. Already exporting to the UK, Holland and Canada, they are now seeking opportunities within the US and Asian markets, where the former has seen a significant increase in Beaujolais sales in recent times.
Story by ME!!!!!
Courtesy of Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review