We have had the privilege of working with the Chevrot family for well over two decades now. The domaine is beautifully situated in the hills at the southern tip of the Côte d’Or. Fernand and Cathy have done so much to elevate the status of Maranges, but now it is Pablo and Vincent that help continue to raise the standards to new heights. They refuse to stand still and are always searching out new ways and questioning everything they do. Minimal handling, low dose sulphur and organic status are some of the key things that have made their wines in recent years stand out as truly exceptional!
Here we get a chance to catch up with Fernand. He is still incredibly active at the domaine and works tirelessly as an ambassador for the family and for his beloved Maranges appellation.
How did you become a winemaker?
Born in 1947, I was at the Wine College in Beaune in January 1967 when my father died. As the only child likely to take over the domaine, my mother Henriette Chevrot, nicknamed La Yette, asked me to leave the high school to work with her on the estate. So I worked my first harvest and vinification alone in 1967 and 2019 will be my 53rd harvest. My son Pablo, qualified winemaker from the University of Bordeaux, returned to the domaine in 2003 and Vincent, qualified winemaker from the University of Dijon, has been working with his brother since 2007, it is they who make the wine now – me Fernand I’m mainly busy with the team of pickers and grape harvesters… I have a laugh…
What do you like most about your job?
I like the vines, to work outside and welcome customers, I like contact with people, I’m very talkative, my wife Catherine says about me, just press the button (like on a radio) and I start straight away…
What’s been happening at the vineyard?
We have already had our horse Corléone for a couple of years now. Kaori left the domaine on 1st September last year, she has gone to work as a secretary at the Château de Puligny-Montrachet. During our last harvest we completely changed the initial processing of the grapes, and we hope this will further improve the quality going forward.
What’s the best wine you’ve made at the vineyard?
When I was a winemaker on my own, the Maranges rouge 1989, awarded a Coup de Coeur in the Hachette guide. Now, the Maranges 1er Cru Croix Moines 2016, a journalist has called it The Romanée Conti of Maranges.
Tell us something about yourself that we might not know.
I had always dreamed of making wine somewhere other than at home but the premature death of my father in 1967 had prevented me doing so. So in 1986 my wife Catherine gave me that chance and I set off alone for 2 months in Australia from 15th February to 15th April. I made wine in 4 different vineyards in Victoria, in the Melbourne area.
It was a great experience and I have kept a very strong friendship with my Australian winemaker employers. They have been to my house many times, they are now between 70 and 85 years old. So in March this year I went to Australia for 4 weeks with Catherine to see our friends and we vinified Shiraz, I can send you pictures to prove it, it was great to see our friends again.