Domaine de la Soufrandière
Domaine de la Soufrandière is located in the southern Maconnais region of Burgundy in the village of Vinzelles. The farm, run by Bret's brothers, Jean-Guillaume and Jean-Philippe, was originally acquired by their grandparents in 1947 for their family. Until 1998, the grapes from the orchards were sold to the Vinzelles cooperative, until Jean-Philippe and Jean-Guillaume finished their wine studies with the dream of starting to produce sophisticated wines in southern Burgundy. After getting the opportunity to acquire 5 hectares of organically certified vineyards in 2016, today the brothers' vineyard area consists of 11 hectares located in the regions of Mâcon-Vinzelles, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé. In addition to Chardonnay, the brothers grow Aligoté. The ages of the vines vary between 33 and 80 years old and they mainly face east and southeast to receive the rays of the morning sun.
In 2000, the brothers produced the first wine they made and bottled on their farm from their own grapes, and in the same year they began working on the orchards using organic and biodynamic methods. Since 2006, the vineyards have been certified for organic and biodynamic wine production, and their natural yield is kept low when the vines produce an average of 40 hl/ha. The method of cutting the vines produces plenty of grapes per vine, but the grapes produced are small and concentrated. At the nurseries, we work according to the lunar calendar and the biodiversity of the soil is enriched with the help of biodynamic preparations. Between the rows of vines, there are plenty of different grass plants and flowers. Since 2006, the 1.7-hectare paddock area has been worked with the help of a horse, and otherwise the paddock work is done by the brothers and their 9 employees. According to the brothers, viticulture and winemaking are above all about respecting all living things, loving the terroir and highlighting the origin of each wine.
In addition to utilizing their own orchards and their grapes, the brothers founded Bret Brothers in August 2001, which buys grapes from 30- to 80-year-old vines from the best plots in the Mâconnais. The Bret Brothers designation for the brothers' négociant business came from the nickname given to them by the late Becky Wasserman. These grapes are also picked by hand by the Soufrandière team and produced into wines with the same care, passion and philosophy as the Soufrandière wines. Mikronégociant Bret Brothers' total production today is about 50,000 bottles, which are obtained from an area of 8 hectares, consisting of about 20 different cuvées. All wines follow the principle of 1 wine = 1 plot = 1 grower. In addition to Chardonnay, we also buy Gamay grapes. As of 2018, all the grapes used in the production of Bret Brothers wines are certified organic, consisting of 80% purchased grapes and 20% grapes from our own orchards. Despite their efforts, the brothers have not yet succeeded in buying biodynamic grapes.
Winemaking takes place on the farm using extremely natural methods. All grapes are picked by hand into 25 kg baskets. The grapes are crushed and gently pressed for 3 hours. 10 mg/l of sulfur dioxide is added to 50% of the grapes during pressing, which allows the yeast strain to be selected, but the juice is still exposed to oxygen. After natural clarification, the wine ferments spontaneously with the help of the grapes' natural yeast strain in 6-18-year-old Burgundian oak barrels or large steel containers, depending on the plot. Some of the barrels are bought in Saint-Aubin from Hubert Lamy's farm. Wines are never chaptalized and acids are never added to them. Aging on lees usually lasts 11 months in oak barrels and 6 months in steel tanks. Although the biodynamic Demeter certificate would allow the use of up to 90 mg/l of sulfur dioxide, the Bret brothers only use about 50-60 mg/l of sulfur dioxide and for the past seven years have also experimented with winemaking completely without sulfur dioxide. All bottles are sealed with natural corks and bottled using the farm's own equipment.
In total, about 35 different wines are produced, with a total annual production of about 100,000 bottles.