Domaine des Crêts is a partnership between François Lequin and Matthieu Ponson—two friends who share similar philosophies and admiration for the wines of the Côte de Beaune. While François was born into a family of winemakers in Santenay, the opposite is true for Matthieu who was raised in Cornas, having went on to study engineering. Several years ago, the two were introduced by a mutual friend and quickly realized they shared the same, like-minded goal of purchasing vineyards in the Mâcon and bringing Burgundian winemaking philosophies further south. Together, they took over the estate formerly known as Domaine Pascal & Sylvie Pauget in 2013 and created a new estate—Domaine des Crêts—the debut vintage of which was 2014.
Here they work with two vineyard sites: En Bout and L’echenault de Serre. En Bout is higher up in altitude with more exposure to wind, less ripe fruit and is comprised of older vines; it tends to show more structure and mineral components–more elegance and complexity. L’Échenault is lower on the hill, a bit riper, contains younger vines and reveals more richness, ripeness and texture. Side by side, these two wines are unmistakably distinct but share the common goal of the estate which is in fact, very simple: to make a small range of great Mâcon chardonnay that balances the minerality and richness for which this appellation is recognized. All of the whites are fermented in oak, 90% of which is neutral–what is quite different from most of the Mâcon wines on the market that tend to be fermented in stainless steel. François is adamant that the grapes undergo a long and gentle press cycle, often between 3-4 hours, with frequent barrel rotations. He is also of the mindset that the juice must oxidize before undergoing fermentation to help combat premature oxidation–an unfortunate and well-known complication that has affected countless wines, particularly white Burgundy, over the course of the last decade. After racking to oak, all ferments occur spontaneously and remain on the fine lees until the time of bottling. As for the red, it is usually 100% destemmed although in ripe vintages (such as 2015) François will use up to 15% whole cluster of only the healthiest bunches found when sorting. The Bourgogne Rouge undergoes fermentation in stainless steel before it is racked to neutral oak barriques (10% new) where it continues fermenting through malolactic and rests on the fine lees until bottling. This wine is never filtered or fined.
The idea with these wines is to create fresh, easy-drinking and approachable wines, while taking the appellation’s reputation to the next level by implementing Côte d’Or winemaking philosophies. The estate is certified organic by way of Ecocert®, as is Domaine René Lequin-Colin. We are pleased to share the discovery of this lovely Mâconnais estate, not to mention the two new Schatzis who are behind this project, with the U.S. market.