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Domaine Ballorin & Fils
Setting up a new wine domain represents a challenge in Burgundy, there are so many well established names producing great wines. Gilles and Fabienne Ballorin were not perturbed however at the thought of competition, they started in Brochon, moving to Morey-St-Denis in 2007 in the Côte de Nuits and already they are carving out a good reputation for themselves with their biodynamic wines.
In Burgundy a map of who owns what in the vineyards is like a mosaic, there are many small scale producers with small sections in different vineyards. In the Côte de Nuits, Domaine Ballorin & F has vines all along the strip from Chenôve to Comblanchien: 23 ares* of vines in Fixin (les Chenevières), 10 ares in Nuits St. Georges (les Damodes), 80 ares in Chenôve, 25 ares Marsanny Rose, one hectare in Marsannay (Les Echezots) for example. They have holdings in eleven different vineyards in all, the most recent acquisitions being Très Girard in Morey and Clos du Roy in Marsannay. The production reads like a restaurant wine list with red, white and rosé including Bourgogne Aligoté (Le Hardi), Bourgogne Pinot Noir (Le Bon), Bourgogne Passetoutgrain (Le Téméraire) and Bourgogne Blanc (Sans Peur) named after the Dukes of Bourgogne. 17,000 bottles in all were produced last year with love and dedication from start to finish.
Morey-St-Denis: BIVB / GADENNE D.
About Ballorin, Allen Meadows of Burghound says: ‘The desire is to craft wine in a minimalist style from their 5 hectares of vines that they have put together piece-meal with various private investors who want only wine from their investments. While Gilles professes to want a parcel or two of premier cru to work with, he freely admits that he’s already been lucky with the vineyards they have been able to accumulate already… this is an exciting source of high quality, value oriented wines.’
Gilles gave up his day job in 2003 and went to learn the craft of wine production in Dijon and Beaune. He spends all day, every day, tending the vines. His wife Fabienne had been in marketing and PR in the wine trade, and brings a vital component to their business back at base in Morey.
They work hard all year round to produce mature grapes so that nothing extra is needed during vinification. The answer lies in the soil: ‘the grapes are good if the soil is healthy’ says Fabienne, ‘sometimes you can smell the life in the soil.’ They watch the changes in the weather continually and act accordingly. Following bio dynamic principles, the wine is as pure and natural as it can be. She admits that the life of a wine producer has proved harder than she originally thought. It is only when talking first hand to the small producers that you realize how much is at stake. It is of course their livelihood, the product of the year’s toil working with nature, but it is also their very soul that has gone into the production to make a bottle of pure, unadulterated wine that they are immensely proud of - the product of that all important terroir.
* 1 are = 100 sq. m
Domaine Ballorin & F, 17 Rue Ribordot, 21220 Morey-St-Denis, tel: 00 33 (0)3 80 41 85 48