Aurelien Piffault, son of Eric met me in Santenay to discuss a little of the history of Prosper-Maufoux, and their new acquisition which will come under that label and form the seed of Domaine Prosper-Maufoux.
No wines to taste here (yet) but I thought this an interesting piece of news and decided to find out a little more…
The building of Prosper-Maufoux dominates the central square of Santenay – a building constructed in the 19th century, but over 14th century cellars – as the residence for Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet – though I’m assured that no Romanée-Conti can be found in its cellars!
Pierre Maufoux acquired this building in 1970, but not for use as a residence, rather a visible headquarters for his business. Today there’s a sales outlet in the cellars below whilst (more recently) the house and the rooms above have been converted and are now rented as Maisons d’Hôtes – as an aside, I like their style very much.
Prosper-Maufoux was sold to their American distributor Bob Fairchild in the 1980s but when Bob died in 2009 it was later sold to Eric Piffault. Eric’s previous business was Andre Delorme, a major négociant of Côte Chalonnaise wines but mainly known for Crémant produced in Rully.
The house of Prosper-Maufoux was founded in 1860, the year after the first Hospices de Beaune auction – and you will find many wines from the Hospices in PM’s cellars – as the current owners have been significant purchasers in the last years. In total it’s about 200,000 bottles that have been commercialized per year – that was, of-course before the new purchase.
Domaine Blondeau-d’Ane of Saint Aubin was acquired in 2014 – pretty much an unkown domaine, selling mainly to passing buyers. The domaine owned 14 hectares of-which only 7 hectares were actually planted – mainly old plantations of Bourgognes were ‘let go’ are not currently exploited. Vine contributions come from Passetoutgrains and Hautes Côtes but also 4 hectares of Côte de Beaune whites, including 2 hectares of Meursault, and vines in Chassagne and Puligny too – oh, and I shouldn’t forget to mention that there’s also one barrel of Criots! There are also some parcels of reds in Puligny and Meursault but their last vintage was 2014 as they will replanted this year to white. These vines will form the nucleus of Domaine Prosper-Maufoux.
The 2014s were harvested well before the announcement of the official acquisition – which was on the 16th December. These grapes were still received and triaged in Rully but the ongoing elevage is here in Santenay. The group now has over 200 hectares of vines but these are mainly for the production of Crémant. It’s probable, though not certain, that a couple of owned Mâcons will join the domaine list here in Santenay, perhaps a little Bouzeron too. Aurelien is not yet sure if the domaine wines will be vinified in Santenay this year – the cuverie is hidden behind the large house – or in Rully.
Apparently the vines of this domaine will need a little work… Internal discussion is moving towards an organic approach, certainly the whole group already works with a ‘raisonnée’ approach for their 200 hectares. There are many old vines but care will need to be taken. Aurelien jokes When I went out to inspect the new vines it was actually easier to find them than I first assumed – their presentation wasn’t all that great when compared to the neighbouring vines – it will take 5-10 years to get them into best shape..
I said that it was a shame that there’s no Santenay – ‘wait’ says Aurelien with a smile, Because of course it’s the roots of the (now) domaine. We will keep our eyes open for a little more Santenay, but maybe that’s probably enough, just for now, and we anyway have much work with the domaine we already bought…