Gilles Noblet at Domaine de la Collonge continues to fashion some of the Macon’s (the area of southern Burgundy that is known for its elegant Chardonnay wines) finest and most enjoyable white wines from several renowned appellations. Noblet’s Domaine de la Collonge is a small family owned and run domain of only 22 acres. Gilles is the fourth generation member of his family to make wine at this prized property. For the record, Gilles’ wife, also, comes from a traditional winemaking family. Madame Noblet is the sister of Jacky Janodet, the present dean of Grand Cru Beaujolais, so wine and winemaking run deep in the heart and soul of this couple as well as in the terroir of the domaine’s well-tended vineyards.
The name Domaine de la Collonge derives from the sector or area (known as an aire) of the Fuissé commune that is called Collonge. Most of Gilles Noblet’s estate is spread along the hills of la Collonge, which yield on average only a little more than six thousand cases of Pouilly-Fuissé each year. However, Monsieur Noblet also fashions small quantities of exceptional Macon-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché, and St. Véran – all elegant Chardonnay based wines similar to Pouilly-Fuissé.
Although not certified organic, Gilles Noblet practices sustainable agriculture and uses non-interventionist methods almost exclusively at Domaine de la Collonge. No artificial fertilizers or insecticides are employed, and only natural yeast is used in fermentation. Moreover, the average age of the vines for Domaine de la Collonge averages more than forty years, while many vines are considerably older. Noblet’s old vines and reduced yields result in wines that are more generous and concentrated than the average Maconnais white.
In appellations that traditionally turn out large quantities of wine, Gilles Noblet decided a long time ago to dance to a different beat. Consequently, Noblet’s style of Chardonnay is one of elegance, purity, and the honest expression of each appellation’s terroir. Noblet’s Pouilly-Fuissé features a real balance between flesh and bone, fruit and minerality, if you will. In addition, Noblet uses traditional wooden foudres (large wooden tanks) with temperature control elements for fermentation to insure texture and a gentle roundness in his wine. He also ages his wine in a combination of foudres and small oak barriques, of which only 20% or less are new each year. The limited use of new oak is practiced expressly, so that the oak barrels impart roundness and texture to the wine, rather than the overwhelming taste of oak that destroys the natural delicacy of Pouilly-Fuissé and its siblings. In essence, the wines of Domaine de la Collonge are classic white Burgundies as well as some of the most compelling wines of the Maconnais.