A Visit With Aurélien Chatagnier
Last month, the Paris Wine Company team had the pleasure of meeting with Aurélien Chatagnier at his Northern Rhône-based estate. Following a visit of the new building (described below) and a wonderful tasting of his best 2020 cuvées, Aurélien shared his love for his terroir and his personal values, the most important of which includes practicing organic farming for many years. Aurélien is adamant: Grape growers, as well as any other farmers, should treat the soil not by fear of what may happen, but only by necessity.
During our visit, we learned about some exciting developments for the coming year at the domaine. For starters, the estate has applied for (and obtained) organic certification, which will officialize their already environmentally-conscious practices. Second, after a harsh season during which he lost a painful quantity of Viognier, Aurélien has decided to focus on more productive parcels.
The most important change for the wine estate is the acquisition of a 100m2-space—formerly an older warehouse of an apple farmer—which will be entirely converted into a cellar and winery. The already insulated construction gives ample protection from changes in temperature and allows Aurélien to save on material and waste in the development of his winery. An annex to that building is in the process of being built, after which the entire production of wine—from stemming to bottling—will be housed in a tidy and controlled circuit. This marks a big and very exciting milestone, moving away from the former chicken coop in which much of the winemaking had heretofore been done.
The winery also hopes to invest in new machinery, some of which will be shared with the neighboring winemakers, including a sediment filter, which will allow Aurélien and his friends to autonomously increase their yields if they need to, without having to travel inconvenient distances or rely on external providers.(Note: a filtre de bourbe, best translated as a sediment filter, allows the winemaker to remove solid particles from lees and must to maximize yield.) Ultimately, Aurélien aims to enhance guest experience by adding a tasting room as well as a bed & breakfast.
By Stéphanie Gervais & Patrick Eid (Edited by Vicki Denig)