Domaine des Combiers, Laurent Savoye
Laurent Savoye is a member of a disappearing breed of Beaujolais vignerons . He owns and cultivates, together with his family, 9 hectares in some of the steepest hillsides in the region. It requires special resolve and ingenious methods working these inaccessible slopes, known as ‘lutte raisonnee’ practice, literally meaning, the ‘reasoned struggle’, but Laurent is passionately attached to his vines and his calling and produces superlative Beaujolais villages and Fleurie with the unmistakable hallmark of all true Beaujolais : quaffable , silky pure Gamey. The average age of the vines at Domaine des Combiers is 60 years old with some plots over a century old. The family follows the principals of sustainable agriculture with minimal intervention, seeding of cover crops, regular ploughing and use of animal manure, all in order to assist in rebuilding and sustaining the natural microbiology of the soil. Yields are barely 2.5 tons per acre as a result of the poor granitic soil. All grapes are hand-picked and entirely sorted and vinified at the Domaine. The Gamay Noir undergoes traditional whole cluster fermentation for 10-12 days with semi-carbonic maceration at 32/34°C for 12-24 hours to aid in extraction of texture ,aroma and color, which Laurent describes as ‘extraction of the spicy tannins of the terroir’. The wine rests in vats till the following spring, when Laurent bottles after a minimal, gentle filtration. Laurent also produces small amount of white and rosé Beaujolais wines.