An interview with Victor Blondin of Domaine De La Gapette

Posted by Joel Wright on

Situated at the foot of Mount Brouilly, Victor Blondin, has five hectares on three main terroirs with some vines almost 100 years old. Gamay planted in goblet and a small, prized  parcel of Chardonnay. Extremely fastidious and hard-working in the vineyard, he uses natural grassing, all the parcels benefit from a varied fauna and flora that guarantee a biological balance of the soil. Such an environment, rich in microorganisms, offers a vigorous natural defense of the vines. Victor started in 2013 after being introduced to winemaking by his cousin, who is part of a long line of wine-growers, he has increasingly been inspired by the natural winemakers he has met in Beaujolais and was certified organic in 2018 and stopped adding sulfites in 2018. 

 

What was the first natural wine you tasted?
The first "real" natural wine I tasted was Julie Balagny, I tasted her wine with a friend of hers, a beekeeper . I invited him to my "open doors" in 2014 and met Julie at this time..
Why did you decide to work this way, firstly in the vineyard and then to stop adding sulfites.
The decision to work this way came naturally, started by looking at the fields. And finishing to no sulfite additions because of the taste of wines, there is more life in natural wine. 
Will you look to find any more parcels or are you happy how you are?
Today I 'm happy with the surface I have but I always look for "new one" , I would like to have more fields to me (not rent). Like this I could be "at home" and do more things in the way I like: put trees, have fields more large between plants, it will be easier to work without plough.. To put some trees and don't make plough is better : you 've got more diversity and that's good for ground life..
And you just work with a horse in the vineyard?
The work with horse is not my only solution but it's the best. For Jonchère there is only the horse because plants are very tight , 1 plant for 1 square meter. With tractor you break some vines, with horse no..
Who did you work with before making wine, did you train with anyone?
Before start to myself I was only work with my "godfather" when I was young until 18 years old. I started ten years after..
Do you learn from vignerons in the area?
We often see each other to speak about vines,wines and speak a lot about this. That's very cool to see this between winemakers in Beaujolais , sometimes we also help if somebody need it. And it's always with some tasting! There's a good "team" near me (like "la dernière goutte, Séléné, Romain Des Grottes..") and a lot of others!
The Jonchere in 2019 is only 10%, but still has very ripe fruit and aromatics, could you tell us a little about how you achieved this?
For Jonchère , we picked it early in morning so the bunches were fresh.. Fermentation passed in my cellar at around 20°C, it's good to keep "fruit" in wine..  the wine has a lot of aromatics because the temperature of fermentation never goes up higher than 25°, like this you keep the fruit and the aromatics. I didn't make pumping-over or shake, you keep the wine calm, you keep it more delicate..
Lastly how has the covid lockdown been for you?
The Covid is so boring!!!