The entry to Marcel Couturier’s production is Mâcon-Loché Les Longues Terres, which is a pure expression of Chardonnay from the southern Mâconnais, made with fruit from over 35-year-old vines planted in clay calcareous soil in his vineyards in Loché. The soils here consist of a clay calcareous layer on top of pure, impenetrable calcareous rock. The layer of workable soil is quite thin in some areas, and through plowing his soils frequently, he can actually increase the calcareous content and health of the soil. These farming techniques result in an elegant, vivacious wine.
Farming is certified organic, pending biodynamic certification. Only native yeasts are utilized for fermentation. Marcel’s approach is the definition of natural, employing the lowest intervention winemaking imaginable; the wine is put into barrel and left there until right before the following harvest, following the rhythm of the seasons. Sulfur levels are very low; however, the wines are always correct. His wines offer incredible delicacy with aromatic purity and complexity as a result.
Vintage – 2018 was a dream vintage in the Mâconnais, providing generous volumes and superb quality. Rain was a key player in shaping the 2018 vintage. It was very present in winter, allowing the vines to establish some reserves before a particularly hot and dry summer. The plants were in great shape, helped by nice weather in the springtime, and flowering was perfect, resulting in abundant, generous bunches. No major weather events upset the growth cycle, and the harvest began during the last ten days of August, continuing until the end of September with a lovely, healthy crop. The wines offer remarkable aromatic intensity, balanced with impressive structure.
Vinification – After a manual harvest, whole bunches of grapes are crushed in pneumatic presses. Two presses are used simultaneously to avoid any oxidation or loss of aromatics. The must is then naturally decanted and racked off its gross lees before going into four and five-year-old barrels for fermentation with indigenous yeasts. As the cellar is kept cold, fermentation is very slow and goes on into the following spring. Malolactic fermentation goes until the following summer. The wines ferment and age in the same barrels until the following August without racking and bâtonnage, as Marcel is wary of making the wines too fat and leesy. Very little sulfur is added at bottling.