2016 was the first vintage produced by the Maison Thiriet in a 20m2 garage without running water and electricity behind the Château de Comblanchien, between Beaune and Nuits Saint Georges.
So who is behind the Maison Thiriet?
Camille Thiriet. A young, passionate, and talented winemaker that’s hitting the burgundy scene in a big way. As far as history goes, Camille wasn’t destined to have a career as a winemaker. Originally from the Paris area, she was first interested in perfume creation and even considered going to the famous perfume school in Versailles, outside of Paris.
Luckily for Burgundy, she was initiated into wine by her family and in particular, those that lived in the Jura region and decided to pursue her studies to become a winemaker.
After studying from college level to the INSEEC Wine Institute where she completed a master of Wine and Spirit course, she started in the industry in sales in 2011 and worked through the different sectors of the industry until working for the famous Nicolas Potel’s Domaine de Bellene.
During 2015 she started researching how she could acquire vineyard plots or grapes to produce her own wine and she started her first vintage in 2016, creating la Maison MC Thiriet in Comblanchien, near Nuits Saint Georges.
Camille, along with her Canadian companion Matt Chittick (they met when both working for the Domaine de Bellene, Matt on the production and Camille on the sales side) decided to take the calculated yet ambitious risk of producing their own wines under their own label.
They currently produce 13,000 bottle (approximately) and work on the idea of single plot cuvées. They produce both whites (Chardonnay & Aligoté) and Pinots.
“We are concentrating on lesser-known appellations and we intend to keep production small and give as much attention to each bottle as possible” says Camille. “But above all, to make good wine, you need good quality grapes!”
Everything is done in an artisanal way. Pumping over the must is done by hand, the grapes are trodden by foot and they use an old rachet press. No chemicals are used and only indigenous yeast. Bottles are hand-labelled and waxed.
Camille admits that she has been fortunate to have been surrounded by a handful specialists in the Burgundy wine industry. For a young Parisian lady to start in a very conservative wine region is not easy. “I didn’t have a name or belonged to such and such a wine family”. So being accepted was not easy. Acquiring grapes or vineyard plots was a difficult task too and some of her suppliers took advantage of the situation at the beginning.
But don’t underestimate Camille. She is smart and determined and knows exactly what she wants. She has impressed many people, but one person in particular springs to mind. Bernard Noblet, the long-serving (now retired) winemaker at DRC was impressed enough to offer his services during the delicate period of harvesting. “I jokingly asked him one day if he would help me during my first harvest…and he did. His knowledge and help were incredible. I felt very honoured”
Amongst the whites, we tasted a particularly seductive Aligoté located in a vineyard near Pommard. Lively, fresh and exquisitely crafted. Initial aromas evoke white flowers and nuts before giving way to the more mineral notes and citrus/white fruits. The length is persistent with iodine notes and a perfect balance between acidity and bitterness.
A Bourgogne chardonnay called “Cuvée Confidentielle” as it is a small production (only 5 barrels) with grapes acquired in Puligny Montrachet. The two fermentations take place in barrels of which 20% new oak. Very little sulphur is added.
This gives a very fresh and vibrant chardonnay with floral notes, the mid-palate is round, and the finish is citrusy.
We finished the whites with a beautiful chardonnay from Vezelay, “Champs Vervin”. Vezelay is on the way north to Chablis. A “once revered” wine production area that was devastated during the phylloxera plague in the 19th century. Before Phylloxera there were 500 hectares of planted vines. Since the 1970’s, 70 hectares have been replanted by various estates, but with perfect terroir conditions, more vines will be planted in this area in the years to come.
Camille uses grapes from vines that are about 25 years of age and are organic cultivated. Again, the two fermentations are in oak, of which 20% are new oak. 6 weeks before bottling, the wine is blended in a steel vat, to bring out the freshness in the wine. This produces a fresh, citrus white and a nice roundness in the mid-palate.
The Pinots were equally delicious. I’ll focus on one in particular : the Côte de Nuits Villages “Aux Montagnes ». This plot, made up of 50-year-old vines located in Comblanchien has the quality of a Premier Cru. There is a very thin layer of topsoil before hitting the limestone rock bed. This gives power to the wine whilst retaining a certain elegance and complexity.
The grape bunches were destemmed except for the best which were left as full bunches. Camille only uses 20% of new oak, to protect the fruit’s pureness and to let the terroir express itself. The 2018 vintage only produced 4 barrels.
The aromas are dominated by crushed raspberry with slightly spicy notes. The mid-palate taste is round and fruity with smooth tannins and this gives way to a lengthy finish.
If you’re thinking of rushing out and buying, think again. As you can imagine, Camille’s wine is short in quantity and short in availability. As we speak, the Vosne Tasting Club is lining up for a small selection which you will be able to taste at our Club or by means of a virtual tasting…
We are certain that Camille and Matt will continue to grow and be very successful and we will keep you informed of their progress.