Emmanuel Giboulot Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits (2017)
It’s one thing to appreciate organic and biodynamic wines, but would you risk prison for your principles? One man who would is Emmanuel Giboulot. He was convicted in 2014 for refusing a government order to spray crops with pesticides, following fear over an outbreak of golden rot, only to have the decision reversed on appeal. Many other producers in the region were horrified that someone was doing things differently, but Giboulot stayed firm. He also had a sizeable amount of the public behind him – one Facebook post in which he explained his decision was “liked” more than 130,000 times. As he said at the time, “This is a victory for people power… there is a social problem here – the impact of agricultural practices and the use of pesticides on the quality of produce and therefore on human health. Burgundy, which has vineyards of exceptional quality, should be promoting practices which respect the environment.”
Part of Giboulot’s love of his organic methods perhaps comes from the fact that he has never done it any differently. He learnt his craft from his father, who ran the estate on an organic basis since 1975, and took over production in 1985 with just a single hectare of land. It was certified biodynamic in 1996. He now produces around 35,000 bottles a year across ten hectares.
His vines of Pinot Noir, for the red wines, and Chardonnay and Pinot Beurrot, for the whites, grow in soils of clay and chalk, at 280 to 400 metres elevation. Only indigenous yeast is used in production, which is based firmly on the schedule of the lunar month. He does not stir the lees, and prefers the wine to reach its own level of quality with minimum intervention. He even uses a mechanical screw press rather than a pneumatic equivalent.
As a result of this care and attention to wines and principles, Giboulot’s wines are balanced, precise and elegant.