A legend for some, a model for others but definitely a wise man for everybody , Pierre Overnoy still embodies determination, precision and humanity for a generation of winegrowers willing to work off the beaten tracks and avoid too easy industrial methods. Today retired, Pierre handed over to former apprentice Emmanuel Houillon. Pierre started his career at the family 3-hectare domain in Pupillin. Later he met Jacques Néauport and Jules Chauvet who initiated him to chemical-free wines. He vinified his first sulphur-free wine in 1984. Emmanuel started to work at Domaine Overnoy in 1990 and would cultivate his own small parcels at the same time till the end of his apprenticeship, in 1997. He took over the domain in 2001 and set up a partnership with some members of his family in 2005. Today the Houillons run the 7-hectare vineyard and perpetuate Pierre Overnoy’s work in the most natural way. The soils are worked mechanically with no weedkillers and enriched with natural fertilizers. Bordeaux mixture comes to the rescue in times of hardships in a region subjected to heavy rainfalls. High density plantation brings minerality and concentration.
Red grapes are de-stemmed and undergo slow fermentation in order to get fleshy texture. Maceration lasts over a month and the juices are rarely racked. Along the same lines the white juices are matured on fine lees with no topping-up except-needless to say-for Vin Jaune. The wines are not filtered to keep purity and typicity and guarantee longer preservation as well. Wines are matured in oak barrels or ‘demi-muids’ and bottling is also done without any addition of sulphur. Planted on a mix of clay and limestone, blue and grey marls the Poulsard, Savagnin and Chardonnay-around 2 hectares for each- symbolize the quintessence of natural wines with undeniable emotional and taste qualities. The Houillons have accepted to compromise with quirks of Nature to get the very substance of terroirs and grape varieties.