Claude CourtoisLoire, France
Situated in the heart of Sologne, 35 km from Blois, Claude Courtois owns a 13 hectare estate, which is free from chemicals and run according to traditional methods.
They aim to create wines from 'true grapes', pointing out that the French vineyards are generally doped with chemicals in order to guarantee bigger yields. Claude has created a small farm which exemplifies what biodynamics is all about in terms of biodiversity and self-sufficiency, although he does not consider himself to be a biodynamic grower, preferring not to be pigeon-holed or have his methods categorized. Recently, he has handed the reins to one of his sons, Etienne, and just kept a couple of hectares for himself. He has created a well-balanced bio-diversity with trees, fruit trees, vines, woods & fields. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards. The grapes – Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Pineau d’ Aunis and maybe up to a further forty varieties—are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. Claude Courtois is considered to be one of the great pioneers of natural wine making in Loire (so that probably means in the world), yet the wines are not ostentatious. They have an easy honest drinkability to them, although complex and savoury, anyone can enjoy these bottles. And considering the reputation and quality, they are incredibly well priced.