We are delighted to start working with Caroline Ledédenté of Grain Par Grain. Based in Artemare, in the south of the Bugey region, she who works just two hectares of vineyards dotted around the area. In just her second vintage, she is producing wines of rare clarity, focus and finesse, with an energy that reflects her own.
You can read further background on Caroline and her work here, along with viewing the first wines released from the 2019 vintage, of which there are 14 different wines, the release of which will be staggered as the wines settle in
I thought it best though, that she can introduce herself in her own words and she was kind enough to answer a few questions I sent over to her which you can read below.
How did you discover natural wine and was there a wine that connected and changed how you saw wine?
My first contact with natural wine was in Paris in 2012. I knew a sommelier that thought that natural wines all tasted the same. I wanted to have my own idea. I remember going to natural wine fairs. One was put up by Vinisat, a 100% pur jus wine fair. I had a heart strike with Patrick Desplat’s cuvée Anne Françoise Joseph 2013. This was very clear to me that It was addressing my senses very deeply. Energy drowning into me, pure and full of length. Wow! Wine was simple deep, strong and full of life.
What inspired you to want to make wine yourself and why did you choose Bugey?
I was working for 5 years in Paris as a waitress in wine bars with excellent wine selections of pur jus (meaning no additives whatsoever). I wanted to climb the ladder of responsibilities and become in charge of a wine selection. I had met such good wine makers that I wanted to put their work on display. They were no issue for me in that way and I was not happy with keeping my former job. I decided that I wanted to make wine when my father ask me 'What do you want to do now? You can tell me anything'. I was so scared when a told it to him but his answer was 'ok great, what do you need to make wine? Do you need training?' And then I was back at school in Jura for an organic wine making training. I then learned with Gregoire Perron during 12 weeks. He is settled in north of Bugey. I discovered his region during a Year. I really enjoy all the whites of Bugey. I couldn’t see myself elsewhere.
Why did you make the choice not to add sulfites?
For me wines without sulfite they address my senses very differently than other wines. My heart beats instantly. I am free of suspicion. I am only in the discovery of a peace of work, at one moment of the wine.
What is the inspiration for the beautiful linocut labels?
Thanks you Joel for the compliment. I really enjoy the work of Benoit Rosenberger, winemaker in Auvergne. I loved the label of his cuvée Desalterofilles, a Pet’Nat’. I contacted him to know which artist it was and What technique it was. It was Lino cuts!
Are there any winemakers you feel particularly inspired by, it could be in terms of style of wine, farming or just general approach.
I have a lot to learn, I always take advice to those that I enjoy the work most and feel close to. I think of Jean-Yves Perron, Gregoire Perron and François Grinand.
You have two hectares of vineyard split between a few different parcels, are you still looking for more?
I am looking for small parcels, Mondeuse, Molette, isolated, between trees.
Why do you look for small isolated parcels, between trees - so there is no chemical agriculture nearby?
It is difficult for me to take on a lot more at once, and it it more agreeable to work with diverse landscapes. I am sure trees bring special micro-climates and animal life which as a results impact the characteristics of the ground. Think of all the leaves going to the ground for example, the insects growing underneath etc.... And I love taking a rest under the shadow of a tree or picking up fruit if by chance it is the season.
Could you tell us about the Molette variety, it is quite rare.
Molette is not seen by itself because it is more often mixed with Altesse, as a small percentage and also it is a grape planted almost all in the tiny area of Seyssel and Corbonod. Thanks to my friend Alice Bouvot in Jura, who had bought Molette formerly, I had tasted 100% Molette cuvée.
2019 was your second vintage, how did it differ from 2018?
2019 differ because I had to do only direct press for the whites. It was my first vintage with my own grapes and I hadn’t anticipated this amount of fruit. 2018 was my first vintage and I wanted to experiment. As I was settled only with a small parcel I have bought all the other grapes I could and tried almost only short maceration for the whites. Apart from the technique of vinification and the region of the grapes the vintage 2019 was lighter than 2018.
Thank you to Caroline for her time and thanks to Elenor Butler for the wonderful pictures.