William Trouillet at Domaine Trouillet, Solutré-Pouilly, Burgundy.

omaine Trouillet in Solutré-Pouilly is an old domaine. Old in the sense that the average age of the vines is high. We are talking about an average of between 40 and 50 years here. William Trouillet, generation number four at the domaine, only makes white wine and has some very distinguished 80-year old vines.

– The Pouilly-Fuissé premier cru Pouilly is just behind the domaine, says William Trouillet. It’s the slope you can see there. Above it you have appellation Mâcon. I am at the lower part of the slope, between the houses. Because of that it’s warmer. It produces something very ripe, very juicy. The vines are old, 80 years. Planted by my grandfather. Small grapes. It’s not particularly stony, it’s chalky clay, almost white, but it produces a quite mineral wine.

Domaine Trouillet is not far from the well-known Rock of Solutré in the Mâconnais. Located in one of the hamlets of the commune of Solutré-Pouilly, in Pouilly to be precise, it is just two kilometres between the famed rock and the domaine. Jules Guérin, the great-grandfather of William Trouillet, started out with four hectares on a métayage (share-cropping) basis. Today the domaine has grown to cover 18 hectares.

Solutré-Pouilly in the Mâconnais, Burgundy.– Becoming a winegrower wasn’t really a choice, says William Trouillet. In fact, the question never came up. I grew up in the middle of it. As a kid I was always out in the vineyards with my parents. The school holidays were spent in the vineyards. So becoming a winegrower was a natural thing for me.

Both his grandfather and his father added some vineyards to the domaine, but the big change came when William Trouillet and his wife Caroline arrived 15 years ago. At the time they had ten hectares.

– Today we have 18 hectares, says William Trouillet. Within two or three years we should be able to reach 20 hectares.

– There hasn’t been any big changes along the way, he continues. We are constantly trying to improve. Small steps, but always moving forward. That’s how I prefer to work. You look at the results, reflect and look for things that can be done better.

Domaine Trouillet in Solutré-Pouilly, Burgundy.– For instance, I have done some tests without sulphur during vinification. We have been working organically for many years, and since 2018 we are certified HVE level 3 (Haute Valeur Environnementale, a certification created by the French Ministry of Agriculture in 2011). We work a lot together with our coopers, trying out new things.

All Pouilly-Fuissé and some Saint-Véran at Domaine Trouillet are vinified in barrels or wooden tanks. For the rest stainless steel tanks are used. Roughly, half of the production is in stainless steel, half in oak.

– Vinification is done without sulphur. At the bottling it is added to stabilise the wine. The wines in stainless steel tanks are vinified at low temperatures, between 10°C and 12°C, in order to really bring out the aromas and the fat.

Roche de Solutré, Mâconnais, Burgundy.There is a Crémant de Bourgogne and a white Coteaux Bourguignons at Domaine Trouillet, as well as three different Mâcon cuvées – the Mâcon-Vinzelles, Les Morandes and the Mâcon-Solutré-Pouilly, Au Rompay.

– Mâcon-Vinzelles, Les Morandes, is a parcel at the bottom of the slope, below the village of Vinzelles. It’s just clay, no limestone. It’s a parcel I replanted in 2008. I am using a rootstock which is very low-yielding, one which produces just enough for what is needed. The goal is to produce a Mâcon which is crispy and fruity.

Next to the Rock of Solutré is the Mont Pouilly. One its slopes you’ll find Au Rompay, the lieu-dit which produces the Mâcon-Solutré-Pouilly of Domaine Trouillet. These are the highest altitude parcels of the domaine, three in total and covering a total of two hectares, and therefore also the last stop at harvest.

– We harvest the three parcels on the same day, says William Trouillet. Part of it goes into tanks, part of into barrels. The final blend contains about ten per cent from barrels. It is much more mineral in character than the Mâcon-Vinzelles, because the soil is poor with much more stones. Not limestone, but stony.

The village appellation of Saint-Véran is a large one, covering well over 700 hectares. It takes its name from the village of Saint-Vérand (spelt with a ”d”, a remainder from the time before the French revolution when the village was called Saint-Véran-des-Vignes), but it covers seven communes in the Mâconnais – Chânes, Chasselas, Davayé, Leynes, Prissé, Saint-Vérand and Solutré-Pouilly. William Trouillet at Domaine Trouillet, Solutré-Pouilly, Burgundy.

William Trouillet used to produce a vineyard specific Saint-Véran cuvée from Les Condemines, a south-facing lieu-dit in Leynes, but due to difficulties with regularity he decided to stop. Instead, a blend, the Nord-Sud cuvée, was created.

– The Nord-Sud cuvée, as the name suggests, comes from parcels on opposite sides of the appellation, says William Trouillet. There are two parcels at the northern end, in Davayé, and two in the southern end, in Leynes.

– The two parts are very different. In Davayé you have lots of white limestone. It’s in Les Cras, near the lycée in Davayé. It’s quite a young parcel, which I planted in 2010. In Leynes the soil is red, but with white stones, white limestone. The parcel in Les Cras is young, so there are some problems with balance. When it is hot the grapes become dried out. So this it not good enough to be a cuvée of its own. In Leynes there are both old and young vines, in La Maison, Les Condemines and Champ Meunier, and when all is blended together it makes a very elegant cuvée. The previous owner of Les Condemines did not have any documentation, but the vines are old. Judging by the look of the rootstocks I would say 70–80 years old.

Solutré-Pouilly in the Mâconnais, Burgundy.Another recent addition to the portfolio is the Pouilly-Fuissé, Vieilles Vignes. It is an old vines cuvée, from 40-year old vines mainly in Solutré-Pouilly.

– It’s 50 per cent stainless steel tanks and 50 per cent barrels, says William Trouillet. The parcels for the cuvée are well-placed, often next to the premier crus.

While Pouilly-Fuissé, with its 758 hectares, is a very large appellation the neighbouring Pouilly-Loché is the opposite, just 33 hectares. Domaine Trouillet owns a large chunk of Les Mures, a lieu-dit to the immediate southwest of the village of Loché. Out of the five hectares the domaine owns two.

Solutré-Pouilly in the Mâconnais, Burgundy.– The soil in Les Mures is not very deep. It’s red soil with white stones. The vines are old. It produces a firm wine with nice fruit. It’s all made in wooden tanks and barrels. Les Mures is a very nice place. Always very small grapes.

There are three premier crus at the domaine. The already mentioned Pouilly, the blend Les Vignes de Jules and Aux Chailloux.

– Aux Chailloux is in a way the flagship of the domaine. When my great-grandfather first started out it was with Aux Chailloux. Today we are the biggest owner there. Out of a total of five hectares we have 1.6 hectare. It was also the favourite of my grandfather. He sold a lot wine to the négociants, but the few bottles he sold were Aux Chailloux.

– What’s interesting about Aux Chailloux is that it is clay and very stony. No limestone though. And it always produces a mineral wine with a menthol character. It is facing straight south. Pouilly is also facing south and the two vineyards are only 200 metres apart, but they are completely different.

© 2022 Ola Bergman