Corentin Houillon: 'Cosmos'
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"Though he took up residency at his vines in the Alps in 2019, Corentin regards 2021 as his real inauguration, having passed the 3-year threshold considered pre-requisite for transitioning from conventional to organic farming.
The contemporary world of natural wine, born of peasant savoir-faire, is generally unburdened by the kind of agricultural dynasties that are common in France's "noble" appellations. The Houillions are about as close as it comes to nature royalty. Corentin's prominent uncle, Manu, steers the ship at Maison Pierre Overnoy. His only slightly less famous aunt, Adeline and his uncle Renaud make a much sought-after wine in the same village. His cousin, Aurélien, has established himself as a young star in the Rhône. After spending his teen years alongside Manu and Pierre, Corentin did what any reasonable 21-year old in his shoes would do. He got tattoos and an American motorcycle and traveled far from home to study biodynamic farming. He first worked in New Zealand, Australia and California, before returning to France to work for Dom Derain and then Stéphane Tissot. He then moved to Switzerland, where he developed a special understanding of soil management, learning to measure and promote organic matter in the course of transitioning to biological farming. Corentin found these skills particularly relevant when he took the reins of the historic Domaine Veronnet in 2019. Situated on the Western flank of the French Alps, with dramatic views over the Rhône and the Jura massif, the domaine's soils are characterized by the unique Alpine "molasse", a type of decomposed, sandy limestone quartz.
For the last 3 years, Corentin has laboriously transformed Veronnet into a kind of biodynamic paradise. Synthetic treatments for mildiou and oidium have been replaced by tisanes and volcanic sulfur. Plants lost to or ill with esca disease have been restored by taille poussard and a judicious massale selection has allowed Corentin to propagate a good deal more of the native Jacquère and Altesse, the latter of which has a special designation in this part of the Alps. The result, in my view, is one of the most unique new domaines in Savoie." - Josh Eubank (the importer)
This is a green and stemmy Mondeuse. It's compact and leafy, with blue fruit shining through. Lovely to drink now for a more serious red, but also has the potential to age.
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