Domaine Les Roches Bleues has 10 hectares of estate-owned gamay vines planted on steep slopes in the Côte de Brouilly and Brouilly appellations. The winery and vineyards sit on the southern side of Mont Brouilly between neighbors Château Thivin and Pierre Cotton. Les Roches Bleues refers to the famous pierre bleue (diorite), a hard, blue-hued igneous rock typical of Côte de Brouilly, found abundantly in their vineyards. Even though volcanoes have not been present in the area, the igneous stone was unearthed by the formation of the Alps when it was pushed up from beneath the sea and exposed at the surface. Côte de Brouilly also takes advantage of the superior drainage and exposure offered by the steep slopes. Mont Brouilly’s incredibly sharp incline and unique soils produce some of the most mineral, ageable wines of the entire Beaujolais region.
Jonathan farms all of his vineyards organically, and his vineyards were certified in 2021. He does not use any chemicals in the vineyard or winery. Beyond organics, he is working with the systems of agroecology and agroforestry (plant cover, hedges, planting trees within plots). The goal is to put the tree at the heart of the vineyard system to improve the quality of the soil, the environment, and fight climate change. The trees and hedges at the periphery of the vineyards also provide a “highway” for the animals and insects to connect to the forest at the top of the mountain, as well as find their way into his neighbor’s vineyards that are connected to the same system. He utilizes wild grasses in the vineyard to help with water retention and guard against erosion. The grasses also lower the temperature in the vineyards by an average of ten degrees on the ground.
The average age of his vines is 50 – 65 years, with some vines of 100 years old. He is also planting young vines and switching to cordon training, which is better for organic and biodynamic farming by raising the vines up off the ground. This method allows for more aeration and does not trap humidity close to the ground, which in turn negates the need for chemical inputs.