Domaine des maisons brulées
Pouille – Touraine - Loire
One of my most memorable vineyard experiences was standing in total silence (enforced) looking over Michel and Beatrice’s vines rolling down the valley to the Cher river. We were appreciating the effect that history had on the landscape – much of the vineyard space in this part of the Cher valley was originally laid out by monks in the middle ages and their planting pattern still remains (although we have stretched the plantings into the easily mechanisable plains).
The impression this silence had on me was maybe not the intended one; I was struck by the image of ‘man’, be they monk or not, working the soil and striving somehow to connect the microcosm of their vineyard with the macrocosm of the universe and the elements that impose themselves on us. The need to treat this relationship with respect and to work the land in a way that tries to create harmony in the zone that we can control had never been so very clear to me. Visits to growers are normally dominated by talk and tasting so it is funny that these minutes of silence had such a profound effect.
Michel uses biodynamics to try to create some harmony on his land. In fact before taking over the vineyards of Maisons Brulées in 1993 he was in charge of one of France’s first biodynamic cooperatives and is THE go to man for winemakers young and old trying to make sense of Steiner’s work.
Sadly, in 2013 Michel and Beatrice sold their domaine to a young couple who will continue the work they started. We are very lucky to have some of the last wines that Michel made.
R.H. July 2012