Jean-Claude Berthillot of Vin des Fossiles is a visionary, reclaiming an ancient viticultural area and showing its potential for greatness. His estate is located in an area called the Brionnais (the home of Charolais beef) at the southwestern extreme of Burgundy near the Loire River, in the department of Saône-et-Loire.
Jean-Claude bought a house in the region in the 1980s, seeking a place to settle in the country. Passionate about wine, and seeing potential in the area, he decided to get some training in viticulture, and quickly became the head of the local micro-coop (around 5 producers), honing his craft there.
In the meantime, he acquired a parcel of old vines Gamay and planted some other sites with Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. He built a cellar beneath his house and began making his own wine, following his vision of elegant, age-worthy, minerality-driven wines.
Jean-Claude has 8 hectares in total, spread across 5 parcels. There are two main soil types here, clay-calcareous and flint, and Jean-Claude vinifies by soil type. In the vineyard he works entirely organically with certification. In the cellar, only indigenous yeast is used. There is no new wood, only stainless steel and old barrels of various sizes.