- Saint-Amour, Beaujolais, France
Domaine des Billards owns five hectares, all in Saint Amour. It’s one of the original Loron wineries and has belonged to the Barbet and Teissier families for more than 200 years. Saint Amour is one of the smallest crus with 321 hectares under vine and it also happens to have one of the most diverse soils of all of the cru. You find blue volcanic schist, granite, pink granite, clay, alluvial fans, and also sandstone from the time that Burgundy was under water. Billards’ five hectares start mid-slope and are composed of sandstone pebbles, granite outcroppings, and layers of clay. Farming is traditional and natural, with no use of herbicides. The soil is regularly ploughed to develop biodiversity.
In the cellar, the vinification is semi-carbonic and lasts between 12 to 15 days. A weighted grill keeps the cap submerged in the fermenting juice, which gives a very gentle extraction of tannins. The wines are aged in cement tanks.
Pictured right - Xavier Barbet has an ancient parchment accounting book that recorded of a number of prestigious customers in Paris in the 18th Century, among them a sale in 1774 (before the French Revolution!) of ten barrels to Marquis Turgot, Louis XVI’s Finance Minister.