We recently returned from France on a pretty special trip three years in the making. When we opened Golden Age our plan was to continue our current relationship with winemakers and develop new relationships by going to meet producers on their own turf. A good faith effort if you will, letting winemakers know we were serious about telling their stories and getting behind their wines. And then Covid hit… We all know what a life-altering event that was and it changed our world forever. As we move forward and can travel again ( knock on wood ) we would like to start highlighting more of those winemakers here on our blog and in the shop. Enter Pauline Passot of Domaine de la Grosse Pierre.
A few weeks before leaving for France we ordered several of Pauline’s wines based on Trent’s research and the word that was spreading throughout the wine community about what a great value her wines were. So we were extremely excited when we got word that Pauline would meet with us while in Beaujolais taste through the current vintage of wines she had to offer.
We arrived in Chiroubles, the village in Beaujolais where Pauline’s family Domaine is located, about an hour and a half before our appointment at the only restaurant we could find open, Antoine’s. Our host, Antoine greeted us with open arms on this particular Monday which happened to be a French Religious holiday called Whit Monday. Our server, Antoine told us of the specials and about the wine list which was predominantly Beaujolais. He smiled ear to ear when we ordered a bottle of the Chiroubles. Our chef, Antoine, cooked us a delicious country meal, but it did take a hot second to receive our dishes and it didn’t help that I ordered the Pre-Fixe lunch set :). We were already 15 minutes late by the time our entrees arrived, so after scarfing down as much as we could we set off to meet Pauline Passot.
When driving up it looked as if they were throwing us a party for coming to taste their wine. Children were blissfully running around, Grandmother’s were milling about being fabulous, and a handsome man was grilling meats at a BBQ overlooking the vineyards. Needless to say, we looked a little out of place, Trent with his leather bag and me toting a relatively large camera ready to capture the moment. “May I help you?” said the handsome man. “Uh, yeah we are here to taste with Pauline” I can’t help but chuckle looking back on the scene. We had arrived at a Family celebration, on a religious holiday for a wine tasting. To be clear, we had no idea that June 6th was Whit Monday and Pauline had her dates mixed up and didn’t realize either. After a few minutes Pauline came downstairs from their home that is above the winery and we were able to sort out the confusion. She is an absolute sweetheart and was so kind and welcoming to allow us to taste wine with her while her whole family was having a party. We agreed to move quickly through the wines and not slow her down too much. But as we began tasting and she realized we had already purchased her wines we were able to connect over what our customers like, how the markets are doing, and how Beaujolais is changing.
Pauline grew up in Beaujolais and found herself in Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France working as a Sommelier at the legendary Pierre Orsi restaurant. Her passion for wine continued to grow and she was bit by the winemaking bug. Studying and learning in New Zealand and Beaune she honed her skills and returned home in 2016 to eventually take over her family’s Domaine in 2018. Her very first wine was in 2016 from a small vineyard in Chiroubles and she is still making that wine today. She considers this wine her baby, the first wine she produced from a truly is a special site. We tasted the ‘21 vintage which is fresh and giving right out of the gates. A beautiful nose of roses, cherries, and dusty earth followed by a lengthy finish that we cannot wait to have on the shelf. ( We do currently have a few bottles of the ‘19 available if this sounds interesting to you. )
She took over the family’s six hectares as well as the physical winery where she makes wine from Morgon, Fleurie, and an additional site in Chiroubles. Her process is simple. Organic farming ( some sites are in conversion ), semi-carbonic maceration, and native yeast with minimal sulfur when needed. She ferments in fiberglass and stainless steel and transfers to Beton, or square concrete vessels for roughly 8 months before bottling. We are honored to work with her wines and look forward to pointing them out the next time you are in the shop. Feel free to shop below and have them delivered to your door!
Fun fact! The handsome man mentioned above is Pauline’s husband and as it turns out he also makes wine under his own label, Domaine des Marrans. We all had a good laugh when we realized that we sold his wine too!