DOMAINE DES TROUILLERES
Volcanic soils, it turns out, are destined to follow Mikael Hyvert wherever he goes. Perhaps they have a natural pull that keeps Hyvert coming back. Either way, from the volcanoes of Tahiti that filled his youth, to the dormant rises of Auvergne, there’s no questioning Hyvert’s passion for this landscape.
Growing up in Tahiti with a French father, and a family friend in the wine import trade, it was only a matter of time before Mikael would come to discover the pleasures of wine. When looking for a career path after graduating high school, it would only take a gentle nudge to point him in the direction of Bordeaux, and enrolling in Blanquefort viticulture school. And from here, the rest, as they say, is history.
The natural wine bug bit hard during this time, as Mikael became more and more focused on these techniques. A friendship forged in Bordeaux with a Loire local then resulted in Mikael seeking out legends from the region, including Olivier Lemasson, Herve Villemade and Thierry Puzelat to work with and learn from.
After an eventful vintage experience in Chile, Hyvert made his way back to the fertile learning grounds of the Loire and Bordeaux before an opportunity to make his own wine presented itself. Plans were already brewing to move to Languedoc with his archaeologist girlfriend, Camille, however the right fit was proving hard to find.
Fate intervened when Camille was offered a 12 month contract in the Auvergne. The volcanic landscape reminded Mikael of his childhood in Tahiti and it wasn’t long before the winemaking potential of the region became apparent. While finding his feet in Auvergne with different domaines, fate again intervened through a chance meeting with winemaker Jean-Pierre Pradier, founder of the AOC Cotes d’Auvergne and owner of Domaine des Trouilleres. The connection between the two was immediate, with shared views on organic farming facilitating a friendship that would later lead to Pradier finding his successor in Mikael in 2016.
The region is technically part of the Loire, where Mikael had already spent much time, and while it’s not as well known as other areas of the Loire, Auvergne has a long, storied history of resistance spirit. In fact, it used to be one of the biggest wine regions in France, with 45,000ha under vine before a combination of Phylloxera and population movement decimated the region.
Today, Auvergne is enjoying a renaissance with young, dynamic winemakers making the most of more affordable land and excellent growing conditions for organic wines. The climate tends to be a dry mediterranean one, with continental influence and a mountainous landscape to provide protection from inclement weather - ideal for minimal intervention farming.
Domaine des Trouilleres produces gamay, chardonnay and pinot noir in this climate, on a tiny 5.8 ha situated between 380 - 500m altitude. This pocket size vineyard planted at 5,500 vines per ha makes only 35,000 bottles yearly, so we consider ourselves very lucky to get an allocation!
In the winery, Mikael follows natural winemaking practices to complement the organic approach in the vineyard. This means no sulphur use during vinification, with a small amount only used during bottling. The resulting wines are honest, lively reflections of their volcanic terroir and highlight the dynamism of this young producer.