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Jasper on Zoom: Olivier Merlin and the New Generation

Event Date: January 19, 2021 6:00pm (UK Time)

Olivier wanted to feature the 2018 vintage including his new parcels in Clos de France, Côte Rôtie and En Crêches to introduce these wines and this was also the year that his two sons joined him at the Estate and interesting to now bring in the next generation. With the 2020 harvest behind him, Olivier is keen to talk of the challenges to come: “The virus has changed many things – the distribution of wine is just one problem,” he says. “But the real challenge is not that – we will continue to drink wine – the real challenge comes from global warming and the changes we make to slow its impact.”

 

He talks of rootstock changes, growing systems, canopy management, evolving wood strategies. There is – clearly – much to do. Will he retire soon? He laughs. “Does a musician stop playing music? I plan to continue as long as I can; making wine is not my job,” he says. “It is my passion.”

Three decades into his career, winemaker Olivier Merlin continues to be a leading light in the Mâconnais.

Winemaker Olivier Merlin has 35 vintages under his belt. He’s far from a “new” winemaker; in fact, he’s the most established producer in the Mâconnais, Burgundy’s most southerly terroir. And, while for some producers longevity could translate to complacency, nothing could be further from the truth for Olivier. He is the region’s most dynamic winemaker, and his dazzling cuvées continue to challenge conventional views about the Mâconnais’ reputation for humble wines. “Unlike my colleagues in the Mâconnais, we do everything by hand,” Olivier explains. “We might apply modern technology, but we make our wines in the same way as they were made 200 years ago.” He makes it sound simple, but at the heart of this approach is a commitment to meticulous winemaking – stripping everything back until what is left is the terroir. And, in Burgundy, terroir is everything.

Olivier Merlin 2018 Wine samples:

  1. Mâcon La Roche Vineuse, Vieilles Vignes
  2. St Véran, Creches
  3. St Véran, Côte Rôtie
  4. Pouilly-Fuissé, Sur La Roche
  5. Pouilly-Fuissé, Clos France
  6. Moulin-à-Vent, La Rochelle, Beaujolais

Watch the replay here.

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