Rhône Valley, France
Aurélien Houillon comes from Franche-Comté in Jura. He is the brother of Emmanuel Houillon, who currently is the winemaker at the legendary Domaine Pierre Overnoy. Aurélien joined his brother with the operations from 2007 aiming to learn the most authentic way of winemaking in Jura.
In 2014, he moved to Switzerland and converted a field to biodynamics and extended his experience in the subject and how to reflect the liveliness of the vineyard into the bottle through minimalistic winemaking.
In 2017, Charlotte and Aurélien decide to take up a new challenge by settling in Faucon, Vaucluse. They acquired a 9 hectare property with vineyards, woods and moors at the foot of Mont Ventoux. Charlotte Houillon, Doctor of Letters, is a specialist in ancient manuscripts. Her research led her to spend long periods in China and Ethiopia, where she learned about traditional methods of making paper from plants, as well as the art of natural pigments. Back in Switzerland, she continued her research on European techniques and hosted many workshops in museums. Her creations range from papyrus to lily paper, tree leaves, tulip, nettles, etc., and even horse dung. The bottles of the Domaine are manually labeled with vine shoots made on site.
Mont Ventoux is composed of clay and sand with formations of limestone in the top. The area is heavily affected by the mistral wind (venteux means windy in French), the wind blows at over 90 km/h (56 mph) for 240 days a year. The property is farmed organically with soils managed without artificial chemicals but only natural fertilisers produced by friends Victoire and Castor. Varieties include Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault with some vines planted in the 1950s.
Aurélien and Charlotte are heavily influenced by, of course, Pierre Overnoy, but also the vinification method of Jules Chauvet. The wines are always fermented with indigenous yeasts and almost all wines are fermented and aged in neutral barrels or stainless steel tanks to maximise brightness of the wines. The winemaking processes are gravity-fed whenever possible. The wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined without sulphur.