Pierre Cotton was a motorbike mechanic before he realised that actually, he prefers the outdoors to the dusty indoors of a garage. He decided to follow his parents footsteps and make wine, and together with their support, was able to purchase vineyards. Now, he makes amazing Beaujolais & vin de France (orange Chardonnay and Gamay), as well as Beaujolais-Villages, Côte-de-Brouilly, Régnié and Fleurie.
"Us human beings, we're so fortunate to be able to work in this natural ecosystem. That's why we don't use any chemicals - we don't want to pollute the vines. We want our wines to reflect the nature that they come from..."
People: Pierre Cotton & Marine Bonnet
Place: Côte-de-Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
Varieties: Gamay & Chardonnay
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? Pierre works according to a “semi-carbonic maceration” - which means that he leaves clusters intact in order to encourage what is known as intracellular fermentation. This is when the berries begin to undergo various enzymatic processes and start to ferment inside themselves, producing very particular fresh red fruit aromas. As the berry skins are barely moved around, less tannin is extracted, which means the wines remain extremely delicate with a silky soft texture.
Beaujolais is all about terroir — a sense of place, largely influenced by soil type. This is the key to these wines; Gamay is the only red grape variety permitted in the Beaujolais. With no other variables (apart from a small ageing time difference between the Beaujolais and the cru wines), Pierre's wines are able to speak distinctly of their soil types.
Despite only being a few kilometres from one another, the soils vary immensely from parcel to parcel. From the aforementioned blue diorite stones of the Côte-de-Brouilly, to the pink granite of Brouilly, to a mix of the two, which Pierre names "corne verte," which Pierre believes is unique to one his vineyards that straddles the Côte-de-Brouilly & Brouilly crus. He also has some Gamay in the generic Beaujolais appellation which he bottles separately as the single vineyard "Le Pré," as it has its roots in sand. This is less common in the region, so Pierre decided to create a new cuvée for it in order to try and figure out what impact the sand has on the final wine.
Hailstorms are a big problem in Beaujolais; brought about by climate change. Losing some of his crop is sadly something Pierre experiences regularly.