Nestled in the Alpine commune of Chautagne in the Savoie, in between forests and fields of grazing cattle, lies the six hectares of Domaine Curtet on two separate parcels. Here, they biodynamically farm their vines of Mondeuse, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Altesse, Jacquère and Mondeuse Blanche. They make natural wines, and are experimenting with new vessels; their cellar is now lined with concrete hexagonal tanks and round concrete eggs.
"There are so many parts to the forest. A vineyard is a monoculture, but by using machinery as little as possible, and so disturbing the soil as little as possible, this is our way of trying, and I emphasise trying, to work towards the balance of the forest where all life exists, where balance exists inherently."
People: Marie & Florian Curtet
Place: Chautagne, Curtet
Varieties: Mondeuse, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Altesse, Jacquère, Gringet, Molette and Mondeuse Blanche
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? The duo took over the domaine from Jacques Maillet, who retired in 2016. Jacques had contracted cancer in the early 1990s, which was attributed to the various chemicals he had been handling at the estate where he worked at the time. He fought back from the disease and was given a second shot at life, and as such was determined to find a way to work that did not involve chemicals. This led him to discover biodynamics, and thus his estate was managed “Autrement” (French for “a different way”). This remains the name of two of the Curtets’ cuvées, as a nod to the history of the estate and to the shared notion of working in this way.
Marie and Florian work without chemicals, biodynamically, according to traditional preparations, as well as harvesting the diverse plants that grow locally to create teas. They spray these on the vines, with the belief that these local native plants provide natural support to the immune system of the vineyard. It is windy here, which helps them to work naturally. The wind works like nature’s own hair dryer, minimising disease pressure.
The vineyard is nestled against a forest. This is of great importance to them as they believe that the life and energy that dwells within the forest can aid the vineyard in defending itself against disease.