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Jean-Michel took over the family vineyard in 1991 after a couple of short spells with Guigal and Pierre Gaillard. Up until then the grapes had been sold to the Guigal family who, according to Jean-Michel’s mother, deemed them as good as the fruit produced on their most famous parcels La Turque, la Landonne and La Mouline. His largest holding is the 1.5 ha on the Coteau de Bassenon, a 40° slope with a lot of terraces cut into the soft granite or gneiss. His other sites are Tupin (1965), Coteaux de Tupin (1980), and the regular cuvée comes from part of Les Bercheries, and a tiny 0.3 ha up at Verenay (1992). As someone who tries to be organic at every turn, Jean-Michel is planting massale-selection Serine, the expressive, small berry ancestor of Syrah, whenever possible. At present, his vineyard is around 60% Syrah, 30% Serine and 10% Viognier. The Viognier is planted among the Serine and Syrah and therefore harvested and fermented alongside them. The vineyards are obviously farmed organically and worked by hand although winches are used for the steepest slopes. Jean-Michel prefers to ferment his four different cuvees using carbonic maceration in order to extract the most delicate aromatics while not accentuating the structure and concentration imparted by the low yielding vines. Whole bunches are kept in a cold chamber for a day at 3°C before being destemmed and transferred to a vat filled to the brim with CO2. After about a week of intracellular fermentation, the grapes at the bottom start to burst under the weight of the grapes above them releasing their partially fermented juice in the process. At that moment Jean-Michel starts pumping over forcing more grapes to burst in the process., and it takes another 20 days to complete fermentation.

Les Binardes is a single vineyard on the Côte Blonde, under Tupin. It’s a complex, spicy wine with black fruits, violets and liquorice, but fresh in the mouth with lovely minerality.