Chloé Bayon at Manoir du Capucin in Fuissé.

hloé Bayon grew up in Nice in the south of France. Meanwhile the family domaine was waiting for her in Burgundy, an estate which had not been looked after properly for two generations.

– When I arrived here in Fuissé I did not have anyone to ask, neither my parents nor my grandparents, she says. I was not familiar with the character of the different vineyard parcels, so I tried to vinify as many of them as possible separately.

Fuissé is located right in the middle of the vast Pouilly-Fuissé appellation in the Mâconnais, an appellation which counts as many as 250 different producers. Chloé Bayon and Guillaume Pichon took on Manoir du Capucin in 2002, directly after having finished wine school. At the time they only had two and a half hectare. Since then the majority of the vineyards have been returned to the domaine.

Manoir du Capucin in Fuissé.– There are 14 hectares in total, says Chloé Bayon. We have twelve and a half hectare now. The remaining vineyards are with a distant cousin of my father’s. They will return to us when he retires. We have nine and a half hectare of Pouilly-Fuissé, two hectares of Mâcon and 80 ares of Saint-Véran.

The two previous generations at Manoir du Capucin did not sell any wine in bottle. Instead everything was sold off to négociants. Chloé Bayon’s grandfather died young and her father preferred the Mediterranean climate in Nice over the cooler weather in Burgundy.

Pouilly-Fuissé in the Mâonnais, Burgundy.While still at school Chloé Bayon was not sure what kind of career she wanted. She ended up taking classes in wine tasting from a teacher at the École hôtelière in Nice. After a while it became more serious and she started thinking along the lines of taking on the family domaine in Fuissé and eventually she went on to study viticulture and oenology.

The name of the domaine – Manoir du Capucin – refers to the first owner, the Capuchin monk Luillier. The house, which looks more Tuscan in style than Burgundian, is believed to have been built in 1602 and is one of the oldest in the village.

– The house was unoccupied for 30 years, so a lot of work was required and there still remains a lot to do. When we arrived here there was no equipment and we had no customers. We had to start from scratch in every aspect. And two and a half hectare was not enough to live off, so Guillaume worked for Domaine de la Croix Senaillet in Davayé. They were very understanding of our situation.

Pouilly-Fuissé in the Mâonnais, Burgundy.Initially very little was sold in bottle. Today seven different wines are bottled and the annual production has reached 30 000 bottles. The most recent addition is the Saint-Véran, which up until 2014 was sold off in bulk.

– I was not familiar with the potential of those vineyard parcels, says Chloé Bayon. So in 2014 I kept two barrels to see what could be done with it. I’m using only old barrels, five years old. The vines were very young when we arrived, but things are definitely improving. I have two parcels of Saint-Véran. One in Davayé which is 0.67 ha and one in Prissé which is younger vines and only 0.13 ha. The Prissé parcel has more limestone, but since it is so small it does not have much of an impact.

Pouilly-Fuissé in the Mâonnais, Burgundy.The Mâcon Solutré-Pouilly of the domaine comes from two parcels which together cover two hectares. One is at Mont de Pouilly at the southern end of the commune. The other is opposite of the Roche de Solutré.

– What makes this special is that the previous grower planted some chardonnay muscaté in the parcel opposite of the Roche de Solutré. The bedrock is very close to the surface and it is a very good place for chardonnay muscaté. The yield is low and about ten per cent of this parcel is chardonnay muscaté.

– I vinify the chardonnay muscaté separately at low temperature in order to keep the fruit. On its own it would be too much, but blended with the rest it adds a nice fruitiness.

In the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation Chloé Bayon makes two single vineyard wines – Clos de la Maison and Aux Morlays – and three blends – Sensation, Quintessence and Reserve du Capucin. The Clos de la Maison is a monopole of the domaine.

Pouilly-Fuissé in the Mâonnais, Burgundy.– Clos de la Maison is the first wine I bottled separately, she says. It is a parcel in Pouilly. If you turn left at the Chateau de Pouilly there is a house behind it where we used to live. Behind that house is the Clos de la Maison. It is 1.31 ha and we are the only owners. Since it is a clos there are walls surrounding it, but there walls are small so there is no impact.

– It is not a very rich Pouilly-Fuissé. There is more of finesse and elegance, with a very nice minerality. The soil has more clay in it there.

The Clos de Maison sees very little oak. Most of the wine is made in tank. The same goes for Aux Morlays and the Sensation cuvée.

– Aux Morlays is next to the lieu-dit Pouilly. It is a wine that actually can take oak well. The 2016 harvest was so small that I had to put all of Aux Morlays in barrels. Old barrels. And it worked very well.

– The élevage for Quintessence is twelve months in barrel. I use between 20 and 25 per cent new barrels for this wine. I don’t want a wine which is dominated by oak. It is blend of several small parcels, like Clos de la Maison, Bouthières and Clos des Riats. It is more os less the same parcels every year.

© 2018 Ola Bergman