"The Gamay grape and Moulin-à-Vent were made for each other…" Guy Seddon
In 1850 Jean-Marie Labruyère, vigneron, settled in Les Thorins, a hamlet of Romanèche-Thorins, acquiring 10 hectares of well-sited vineyards. Since then several generations have run the estate, ultimately acquiring Clos du Moulin-à-Vent, the unique monopole (wholly owned by the family) in the region, the vineyard situated alongside the iconic windmill. The estate is now overseen by seventh generation, Édouard Labruyère who took over the estate in 2008.
Convinced that their plots are located in the best terroirs, Édouard Labruyère has reinvigorated the Domaine, with the help of celebrated oenologist Nadine Gublin and Michel Rovere (Chef de Culture).
Fundamental to all of the family holdings; Burgundy, Pomerol, Champagne and Moulin-à-Vent are shared values – family, hard work and respect for nature.
Observing individual characteristics in various parcels of the vineyards, Édouard has taken his influences from Burgundy, establishing designated vineyards. This led to three specific, characterful cuvées: Champ de Cour, Le Carquelin and the monopole Le Clos. Édouard’s vision is both to establish a world class reputation and to pass on a great estate to future generations. The vineyards are farmed sustainably with his successors in mind.
Édouard Labruyère was born in 1976 at the domaine. His life in wine started in 2003, first as a courtier in Bordeaux, before taking over the family’s wine interests in 2008.
In addition to Domaine Labruyère, these include Domaine Jacques Prieur (Meursault), Château Rouget (Pomerol) and Champagne J.M. Labruyère (Verzenay, Montagne de Reims).
Nadine Gublin has been head winemaker at Domaine Labruyère since 1988. She is a recipient of the Winemaker of the Year award from the Revue du Vin de France, the only French woman to have been so recognised.
Nadine is also in charge of winemaking at the other Labruyère family properties.
Michel Rovere is Chef de Culture and Chef de Cave at Domaine Labruyère. Born in Mâcon, Michel has lived all his life in Romanèche Thorins in the heart of Moulin-à-Vent. He joined Domaine Labruyère in 1984 at the age of 18 and has stayed with the family ever since.
Geographically, this is Beaujolais, although you can feel the pull of Burgundy to the north in Le Carquelin’s gorgeous Pinot-like purity and the Rhône to the south, in the layered spices of Le Clos.
Moulin-à-Vent Coeur de Terroirs: 10.00ha - 50 years +
Champ de Cour: 1.42ha - 50 years +
Le Carquelin: 1.75ha - 50 years +
Le Clos du Moulin-à-Vent, Monopole: 0.92ha - 70 years +
All vineyard work is done manually, with horses used for ploughing. The short, stubby vines are spur-pruned and trained in the traditional gobelet style, cut back almost to the vine-head during the winter.
Keeping the grapes low to the ground provides some frost protection from reflected heat, the trade-off being a risk of fungal disease from humidity.
Although the appellation permits 52 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha), Domaine Labruyère’s yields fall between 22 and 35 hl/ha.
The hand-picked Gamay grapes are sorted twice. Whole bunch fermentation is used flexibly according to the vintage. In 2019, Champ de Cour is a third whole bunch vinified and Coeur de Terroirs 20%, the others being fully destemmed.
Following a brief cold maceration and fermentation in 50 hectolitre concrete vats, the wines mature in oak, with small proportions of new oak barrels – less than 5% for Coeur de Terroirs, a maximum of 10% for Champ de Cour and Le Carquelin. Le Clos is the only exclusively barrelaged wine, with just 10% new oak in 2019.
The domaine uses an increasing proportion of 600 litre oak demi-muids. Its second-hand 228 litre pièces come from Domaine Jacques Prieur in Meursault. Winemaking errs on the side of reduction, with very limited racking. The wines are transferred to concrete vats pre-bottling.