In the short time since taking over her family’s estate, Pauline Passot has made a name for herself as the producer of high quality, balanced wine that are very expressive of their terroirs. Although she grew up in Fleurie, Pauline discovered wine in a bar in Ireland. She found she loved talking about it, and fell into a restaurant career as a sommelier, finally spending four years at the famous Lyon gastronomic temple Pierre Orsi. A vintage at the Seresin Estate in New Zealand in 2014 showed her that talking about wine was not enough: she wanted to make it. Winemaking studies in Beaune were followed by stints at several wineries, including Lafarge. She leased an organic vineyard in Chiroubles – the Grille Midi – and in 2018 assumed responsibility for her family’s six hectares.
One of her first steps was to begin conversion to organic methods. Her winemaking is traditional: fermentation is in a mixture of steel and 600-litre casks, there is little destemming, little extraction and a low fermentation temperature. It is the precise attention to detail that makes the wines shine.
This is an exciting time: after years of poor Beaujolais Nouveau, a new wave of growers is creating serious terroir-driven wines, and drinkers are rediscovering quite how good Gamay can be.
Winemakers like Pauline Passot are worth watching.