Super rare, tiny production natural Burgundies from the Cote Chalonnaise! Fiercely intense and uncompromising wines by Benoit Delorme, a reclusive vigneron whose work is still shrouded in obscurity.
Delorme farms about 1,5 ha of rolling hillside vineyard in Rosey, Cote Chalonnaise. He does so with a near-absence of technology, according to biodynamic principles and mostly assisted by mules and horses. The entire operation is somewhat makeshift, having been built up out of Delorme’s employment at Guy Chaumont who kindly rents him part of his vineyard land.
This arrangement was the culmination of a decade spent wandering the planet in pursuit of love and viticultural projects. Trained in agrobiology and with a background in chemistry and oenology, Delorme has worked at domaines from Alsace, Burgundy (Maison Verget) and Beaujolais to California and the Penedes. In 2004 he finally settled down in Rosey, where he took a job at the long-time organic Domaine Guy Chaumont. Delorme was allowed to exploit a small plot of old-vine Pinot Noir under his own name while working for Chaumont, until he was able to sustain himself from his own sales.
Since 2009 Delorme is able to operate autonomously, even though his output is exceedingly small. He farms his 40-70 year old vines (on hard limestone just beneath a thin layer of topsoil) at a very low 15 hl/ha yield, all by hand. He harvests later than most in the area, and ferments the grapes in whole bunches without any intervention in concrete tanks. After 10 days the grapes are pressed with an ancient stone-mounted vertical press before they spend 18 months in old barrels (about a year for the white wine). Delorme usually adds a miniscule amount of sulphites right after the malolactic has finished, and nothing is added to or taken out of the wine after that.
The resulting wines are densely structured and amazingly concentrated. They are alive and playful in essence but tightly wound in their youth. The phrase ‘ORGAniSME CULTurEl’ emblazoned on the labels refers to Delorme’s conception of wine as a cultured living organism. Or to be precise: wine as a vector for the life of the vineyard, shaped by the indispensible agency of human skill.