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Guy Breton

Guy Breton is one of the stars of Beaujolais - one of the "gang of four" - and famous in the wine world for his contributions to natural wine and carbonic fermentation. With vineyards in Beaujolais-Villages, Morgon and Régnié, he tends old vines that are in some parts over 100 years old.

Header photograph kindly supplied by Aaron Ayscough

LITTLEWINE met with Guy Breton in Morgon, and again in London:

Guy Breton

 

"By working with natural yeasts, your vineyards - even if they're just 500m away from each other - will create wines with totally different tastes."

 

People:  Guy Breton

Place:  Morgon, Beaujolais, France

Varieties:  Gamay

Hectares:  4

Farming:  Organic 

Wines: Click here

Did You Know?  The cuvée P'tit Max comes from the oldest vines of Guy's Morgon plot, Les Charmes (some of which are even 120 years old — making them some of the oldest in the region, too). 

Guy Breton's winemaking method (carbonic) never differs for his Cru wines. For him, the winemaking technique must always remain the same: this is paramount so that he can best express the unique intricacies of each terroir. 

In addition to working with his own vineyards, he also buys fruit from grower friends. As his own vines are on average very old, this means the yield is much lower than average. However, they are living pieces of vinous history, of which Guy is very proud, and they create powerful, ethereal wines that he argues only come from vines with age. Despite this, working with such low yields is not always the most financially viable option. In addition, if Mother Nature wreaks havoc with frost and hail one year, as she tends to do frequently in the region, it means Guy could be left with nothing. As such, he also buys fruit from farmer friends, in Chiroubles, Côte-de-Brouilly and Fleurie. He says,

“Buying grapes is the solution when growers lose their crop to things like hail. Some parts of Fleurie were hit by hail three years in a row - it’s complicated, to say the least. If a young winemaker is just starting up, well… you have to be strong. If you look out into your vineyards and all you see is icy hailstones, and you’ve lost everything, it’s heartbreaking.”

“It took four to five years of working organically to find an increase in yeasts under the microscope. There were yeasts already, of course, but...

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