Domaine Françoise Andre
"Burgundians Françoise and Michel André founded Domaine Françoise André in 1983. They refurbished the traditional family chais in the walled city of Beaune and began to acquire parcels in some of the best terroirs of the surrounding hills. When searching out their vineyards, Françoise looked for cooler sites on the upper slopes of the côtes with old vines, preferably of massale selection, and younger soils with a high proportion of limestone. She knew that it was here, in the vineyards, that she and Michel could produce the elegant, mineral-driven style of wines that have since become the trademark of the domaine. The Andrés eventually acquired a total of 8.5 hectares in Pernand, Chorey, Savigny, and Beaune, as well as some truly fabulous holdings in cooler sites on the upper slopes of Corton; west facing Corton-Charlemagne and east-facing Renardes.
Françoise and Michel’s passion for the land and wines of Burgundy led them to eschew the use of any additives in the vineyard and winery. By the mid-90s, they had transitioned to biodynamic farming and firmly established a reputation for producing fine wines of elegance rather than power and or weight. They were, for example, the first producer in Burgundy to bottle their Chorey-les-Beaune blanc.
The quality of the hand-picked fruit produced from the low-yielding vieilles vignes, or old vines, is readily apparent as it comes into the winery for sorting. Work in the cellar of Domaine Françoise Andre reflects the age-old sensibility that, “good wine is made in the vineyard.” When it comes to winemaking, Michel and Françoise work very hard to do as little as possible, after a rigorous sorting they step back and allow the wines to make themselves, believing that this is the best way to preserve the identity of each terroir.
Chardonnay grapes undergo a slow gentle pressing before natural fermentation. The white wines are raised on the lees in 350-liter barrels, 30% of which are new, with stirring only during fermentation. Pinot Noir grapes are crushed and partially destemmed; punch-down and a relatively short skin maceration of fifteen days are done with deliberate moderation to preserve the terroir of the appellation. Preferring to make their “corrections” in the vineyard, absolutely nothing is added during fermentation or elevage except a small amount of sulfur at bottling.
After twenty-five years of hard work, Françoise and Michel had realized their dream of producing wines that reflect a care of land, people, and place, or as Françoise would say, “we are now very happy to drink our own wines.” In 2009, their daughter-in-law Lauriane André took over the management of the estate and continues the vision of the domaine: to produce wines of finesse and elegance through hard work in the vineyard and a gentle hand in the cellar.