Jean-Claude Rateau (Côte de Beaune)
If there’s one vigneron who truly exemplifies the direction we’d like to see Burgundy headed, it is Beaune-based Jean-Claude Rateau.
A pioneer in biodynamic farming and low-intervention vinification. Rateau consistently makes wines that are humble but hyper-focused. His wines are completely unmasked but not howlingly ‘natural’ or avant-garde. And he’s been using biodynamic methods since the seventies!
Zero-intervention, maximum flavour
Jean-Claude’s hands-off yet decisive approach in the vineyards also shows in his cellar. He relies on natural yeasts for his fermentations and uses little to no sulphur in the entire process. He vinifies and ages in oak vats that are at a minimum of 4 years old. For the red wines, he uses extremely gentle extraction. After fermentation, the wines rest basically untouched on their lees for 11 to 20 months. Before bottling, Rateau likes to filter both reds and whites very lightly, as to bring out the brilliance of colour without sacrificing textural integrity.
The resulting wines are understated, uncontrived and completely delicious. From the modest Hautes-Cotes to his beautiful Beaune 1er Cru’s, each Rateau wine shows unparalleled clarity of fruit, striking digestibility and radiant minerality. No new oak, over-extraction or fatness insight here: these are wines of purity and precision. And affordable too, relative to their pedigree.