Country: France

Domaine Tripoz is located in the Maconnais region of South Burgundy, in a small village called Loché surrounded by vineyards. Laurent and Céline Tripoz began in 1986 by planting their first vines on a few small plots of land, selling grapes to the local cooperative like most growers in the region. They quickly decided to begin making their own wines, releasing their first vintages in 1990 and eventually converting to biodynamic farming in 2001. The majority of their 14 hectares of vines are planted with Chardonnay for their stunning Cremant and lovely Bourgogne Blanc, Macon and Pouilly wines, but they also produce Aligoté, Pinot Noir, and Gamay.

Country: France

The product of three generations, Domaine la Rocalière was founded in 1995 by Jacques Borrelly, and his father, Armand Maby. Since Jacques’ retirement in 2009, the estate has been managed by his daughter, Séverine Lemoine, with the help of her sister, Mélanie. The cellar is located at the entrance to the village Tavel in the southern Rhône region, and their 15 hectares of vines are distributed throughout the Tavel and Lirac appellations, along with some in the commune of Pujaut. They produce their stunning red, white, and rosé wines from vines with an average age of 30 years.
Rocalière’s farming is done as traditionally as possible, and is guided by their desire to allow the grapes to communicate the richness of their terroir while preserving the landscape. Most of the work is done manually, and they consciously limit the scale of their operations to allow for as much attention to detail as possible. They have been certified biodynamic since 2020, and everything is done in their vineyards with the utmost respect for nature as they strive to preserve their legacy here. They vinify with a philosophy of respect for the grapes as well, and a desire to allow each vintage to express itself uniquely in their wines.

Country: France

The Steinmaier family, originally from Austria, emigrated to France in the 1930’s. In 1965, Guy Steinmaier, born in Burgundy, purchased a vineyard in the tinyl hamlet of Les Cellettes, near Saint-Gervais on the right bank of the Rhône. Over the years he purchased 10 more hectares of land, as well as buildings from the 16th Century with cellars. In the 1980’s, his sons Jean and Alain took over; today, Alain still manages Domaine Sainte-Anne, now totaling 35 hectares, along with his wife, who tends to the estate’s visitors. Here, in the Southern Rhône region, this estate crafts wines with a reputation for excellence, lush fruit and expressiveness of the surrounding garrigue. They vinify both red and white wine grapes, including Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and Mourvèdre. Only one of their cuvees ever sees oak; otherwise, Sainte-Anne prefers to age their wines in cement tanks to allow the freshness and purity of the grapes to be expressed.

Country: France

Domaine Eric de Suremain is located in Monthélie, one of the tiniest villages in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, bordering on Volnay and Meursault. Eric is known for his hands-on approach, and can most often be found in the vineyards, personally tending to his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Here, he is one of the champions of biodynamic agriculture, and after taking over the family estate from his father in 1978, he converted to biodynamic methods in 1996. His philosophy is one of synergy, likening biodynamic farming to conducting a symphony, keeping his vineyards in tune with nature.

Eric prefers traditional methods over technology, despite his technical agriculture degree, and so he restricts his yields to some of the lowest in the area, and uses minimal intervention in the cellars as well as minimal oak influence. He adjusts his winemaking process to each vintage, prioritizing balance above all. “Suremain” means “sure hand,” and in Eric’s capable hands the estate’s wines display elegance, depth, and complexity that far exceed their modest appellation.

Country: France

Domaine Robert Sérol is located in the Côte Roannaise AOC, in the volcanic upper Loire Valley at the foothills of the Madeleine Mountains. However, this region is much closer to Beaujolais than Sancerre, and closer, too, in terms of terroir and winemaking style. Much of the wine here is made with the Gamay grape, which undergoes carbonic maceration to produce lighter, low-tannin, fresh red and rose wines. Sérol is no exception, with almost all of its 32 hectares planted with Gamay. The estate’s goal is to promote the true expression of their grapes, thereby allowing the unique identity of the terroir to reveal itself.

Stéphane and his wife Carine took over in 1996, and the property has been in the family since the 17th Century. With the goal of strengthening their vines and preserving the terroir they converted the estate to organic and biodynamic farming, becoming certified organic in 2014. Sérol is known as one of the best producers in the area, and has been active in promoting and generating recognition for the Côte Roannaise, the region that has been home to their family for so long.

Country: France

Domaine la Grangette was founded in 2001 by Michel Maron, who then passed it on to his daughter Christelle with her husband Matthieu Caron in 2012. Although some of this winery date back to 1750 the rest is mid-20th century. The estate is located 5 kilometers from the Mediterranean, in the Picpoul de Pinet AOP, covering 60 hectares which also include pine forests and planted cereal grains and alfalfa. The surrounding rolling hills are covered with garrigue, and the soil is rich with hard and soft limestone.

Although the local Picpoul Blanc grape is cultivated throughout six communes locally, la Grangette is the only estate using the Picpoul Noir variety to make white, red, and rose wines. When the couple took over the farm and initiated sustainable practices their goal was to make quality wines from these and other rare grapes historically planted in this area. In 2019 they even began planting a gray variety of Picpoul. The estate’s farming methods have been certified as organic since 2018, and the Carons intentionally limit their yields and farm with utmost respect for the environment with an eye towards the future.

Country: France

Christine Dupuy took over the Labranche-Laffont family estate in Madiran in 1993, and in doing so became the youngest female winemaker in the region. Christine also has the distinction of being one of only two winemakers in the region to own Tannat vines that date back to the late 19th Century, before the Phylloxera epidemic. She set about converting her estate to organic farming, and became certified in 2004. Her true mission, however, has been to elevate the reputation of Tannat, and she has successfully defied the stereotype that it can’t produce sophisticated wines.

Christine’s winemaking philosophy is one of common sense, respect for the environment, patience, and hands-on labor in the vineyards. The soil is disturbed as little as possible to preserve the microbiological balance, the vines are fertilized with compost, and grass is left to grow between every second vine. The result of her passionate efforts is the full expression of the terroir, as well as the individual character of each vintage, in her wines.

Country: France

To taste the wines of Philippe Bernard with the man himself is to experience a shocking contrast. His wines are among the most elegant, balanced and pretty of the entire Rhone Valley, while the man himself, a former rugby player, is large, broad, muscular and looks like he could break your legs with little effort. This makes sense when you learn that Philippe, having grown up during the age of “Parker wines” with their sweet tannins, jammy fruit and high alcohol, did not like that modern style of wine. With his more refined, traditional palate, he followed his preferences and studied winemaking in Burgundy, where subtlety and balance are the focus.

For wines from the Mediterranean to be not only rich, but also delicate, it takes precise farming and intimate knowledge of every parcel. Philippe, like his father and grandfather before him, all conscientiously farmed this same land but sold their grapes to the local cooperative. In 2008 Philippe and his father built a winery that would allow him to quit selling off their precious harvest and make wine that showed what incredible produce they had been growing. These are the wines of a master vigneron, farmed with love and produced with an uncommon focus on prettiness.

Country: France

Domaine Magellan is run by Bruno Lafon, who was previously making wine in Burgundy with his brother at Comtes Lafon, arguably one of the greatest Burgundy estates. He moved to Magalas in the Languedoc region in 1998 along with his wife and daughter after discovering this property on a trip to the south of France. Seeing the potential in the sandstone and shale soils, elevation, proximity to the Mediterranean, and the fact that some of the oldest vines in the region were planted here, Bruno set about rehabilitating the estate. The vineyards were converted to organic farming, certified in 2010. Working as simply and traditionally as possible, the grapes are harvested manually and fermentation is done using native yeasts. They avoid the use of new oak in order to allow the true flavors of each cuvée to be showcased. With vineyards in Pezenas, Magellan’s wines rival in quality the best of the Languedoc due to Bruno’s attention to subtlety, learned from his lifelong experience in Burgundy. In Bruno’s words, “we have great terroir in Languedoc, but we are young—it took 1,000 years for regions like Burgundy to become what they are today. We in the Languedoc should make good wines that are good values as well.”

Country: France

Mas de Libian has been in the Thibon family since 1670, originally a hunting lodge and manor house. In 1970 the wine cellar was built by Jean-Pierre Thibon, and today it is run by Jean-Pierre’s daughters, Hélène and Catherine, along with Hélène’s husband, Alain, and son, Aurélian. The estate is located in the village of St.-Marcel-d’Ardèche, on a hilly slope of the Rhône River, in the far north of the Southern Rhône Valley. Bracing winds, rocky terroir, and high altitude all contribute to the freshness and vibrancy of their wines.

The vineyards have expanded over the years to cover 25 hectares of vine, and the cellar was doubled in size in 2011. They also have fields set aside for growing olives, grains, vegetables, and flowers, and there is even a beehive. From the very start the farming here was done organically, as it has been here for generations. The plowing is done with workhorses, and hoeing by hand. No chemicals are used, and they avoid using sulfur as much as possible. With the goal of maintaining the balance of nature, and tending to their vines with respect to the rhythm of nature, Mas de Libian became certified biodynamic in 2005.