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Côte de Beaune, Burgundy

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There are not too many teenagers who would choose to spend their days in the vineyard, let alone experimenting on their grandfather’s grapes with natural winemaking. But then again, Ludovic Bonnardot was not your average teenager.


Burgundian born and bred, Ludovic now guides the winemaking at the family estate - Domaine Bonnardot, taking over from his parents in 2006. The estate covers 15-hectares with two operations: one centered in Santenay, the wine-growing focuses on Côte de Beaune and Hautes-Côtes de Beaune appellations, while blackcurrants (cassis), asparagus and cereals are grown in Bonnencontre near the family home, just south of Dijon.


The polyculture approach is a reflection of the long heritage of winemaking in the family, which dates back to 1470. Throughout the centuries, it was (and arguably still is) essential to have year-round agricultural output to spread the risk of crop failure and ensure a source of income for the family. 


Ludovic’s interest in natural winemaking at an early age was influenced by his mother Elisabeth, the Domaine’s winemaker while he was growing up. Elisabth graduated her enology studies in Beaune, studying alongside and eventually interning with Jules Chauvet - who is considered to be the father of natural winemaking. As a result, Elisabeth’s approach to winemaking was very much shaped by Chauvet, and she began to practice more natural approaches to her winemaking with her Burgundies. 


Today, Domaine Bonnardot is farmed organically, with the conversion starting when Ludovic returned to the family lands after graduating his winemaking education. Ludovic believes this approach is key to revealing the best nuances of each site across 18 appellations and 50 plots, along with the practice of natural vinification with no addition of sulfur or oenological products during vinification and low to no addition at bottling.


The vineyards include Hautes Côtes de Beaune ‘En Chaignot’ and ‘Sur Evelle’, Bourgogne Côte d’Or ‘Clos Botaveaux’ Monopole, Bourgogne Aligoté, Santenay ’Saint Jean’, Santenay 1er cru ‘Clos Rousseau’, Maranges ‘Sur le Bois’, Pommard, Chassagne Montrachet and Puligny Montrachet 1er ‘La Garenne’, with vineyards average age of 45 years old.


Before the beginning of Spring, natural fertiliser made from vegetal or animal matter is added to the soils to bring life. Then all the vines are plowed to encourage the decomposition of the organic matter and aeration of the earth. From here until vintage, Ludovic and his brother Emilien tend to the vines with debudding, relevage and trimming. Once vintage arrives, plots are harvested by hand at their best maturity and bought into the winery for hand sorting.


Vinification of the white grapes includes slowly pressing the whole bunches, with the must  then put into oak barrels for a 12-18 month fermentation. The fermentations are natural, with no addition of sulfur or addition of oenological product. After natural settling in the barrel and light filtration, the whites are ready for bottling. 


The red wines range between 30% and 100% whole bunch inclusion, with the berries macerated in oak tanks between 20 and 180 days. Again there is no addition of sulfur or product, and fermentation occurs with indigenous yeast. After the pressurage the wines are put into oak barrels for up to 12 - 18 months aging. The reds are not fined or filtered before bottling, with low or no addition of sulfur. This sometimes generates a light deposit however doesn’t alter the quality of the wine.


Domaine Bonnardot wines are fresh, vibrant and pure, reflecting the considered approach to farming and vinification to ensure transparency of place. We love how they express each site with a very minimal extraction or oak influence. Most of all we appreciate the rare value for money these wines offer - something we don’t see much of in Burgundy these days. We’ll drink to that! 

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