Domaine du Crêt de Bine

François et Marie-Thérèse Subrin
Florence Subrin Dodille
Geoffroy Subrin

François and Marie-Therèse Subrin, along with their daughter Florence and nephew Geoffroy, farm 5 hectares of land in the village of Sarcey, a village situated on a high plateau tucked between the Monts Beaujolais and the Monts Lyonnais in the southwest corner of the Beaujolais appellation. The Subrin’s vineyard is planted on granite soils with significant deposits of quartz and feldspar. On average, the vines are 40 years old. They farm organically and utilize principles of biodynamic agriculture. To ensure maximum health and ripeness for their grapes, they severely limit the yields (for the vintage 2010, yields were 32hl/h) and they are willing to harvest late into the growing season (as was the case with 2012, when they harvested between September 21 and October 03).

Domaine du Crêt de Bine challenges the hierarchical supposition that a wine from southern Beaujolais cannot achieve the same intensity and complexity as wines from the Crus Beaujolais.

Read Francois comments in the Beaujolais Vintage Reports

Beaujolais "Cuvée Bio’Addict"

Gamay Noir a Jus Blanc planted to granite and and granitic sand, from two distinct parcels, one of 20 year old vines, the other 50 year old vines, planted at high density (more than 6,500 plants per hectare) farmed and vinified biodynamically. Entirely manual harvests, vinified in traditional beaujolais method, 12 day fermentation duration with indigenous yeasts by “pied de cuve”. Mininal amount of sulfur at bottling, 53 mg total.

Beaujolais "Terroir du Martin"

Vinification follows traditions beaujolais method with whole cluster fermentations, while adhering to a “natural” approach. Indigenous yeasts are used, there is no heating of the vats and no sulfur is used during the entire process until just before bottling when the dose of 15mg/L is introduced. The wine is matured in large foudres until the following spring when it is bottled.

Beaujolais Blanc “Cuvée de Florence”

Chardonnay from two parcels, one of young vines and the other to 40 year old vines planted to granite and sandy granite soils farmed and vinified according to biodynamic practices. Florence calls these parcels “the jewel of our vineyard”. Entirely manual harvests, vinified in traditional beaujolais method with whole cluster fermentations, at low temperature, with no additives and by indigenous yests. Matured one third in "béton" concrete vats, two thirds in used barriques. Sulfur is minimal, only at bottling, 48 mg total.


Florence Subrin sends a "snapshot" of the work that is currently going on in their biodynamic vineyard in the village of Sarcey in southern Beaujolais. We will be going more indepth to discuss with her their methods, preparations, their evolving biodiversity projects across the full growing season. Stay tuned......

"This summer, we had heavy rains combined with relatively warm temperatures, which stimulates grass growth as well as cryptogamic diseases [such as oidium, mildew, black rot].

The whole family, along with two seasonal workers, are working very hard controling overgrowth of the grass cover to limit its impact on nitrogen levels as well as limit residual humidity.

We are protecting our vines with weekly organic treatments made of copper, sulfur, tinctures (made from willow branches, as an exemple) and essential oils .

With this continuous care, our grapes are developing very well. We hope this coming harvest will reach its maturity in good conditions."

Florence Subrin

The Subrins continue full throttle ahead in their biodiversity projects, this Spring adding trees and hedges, shelters for insects and aiming to implement bee hives in the entirety of their vineyards. According to Florence Subrin Dodille "our goal is to aid and encourage the development of living organisms as a whole and maximize exchanges between species. We aim to develop our vines' energy and expression, achieve a very balanced harvest, healthy and expressive grapes and ultimately convey this through our wines."

Posh Digs for bugs at Crêt de Bine

Florence Subrin's updates on this years vintage conditions in the south of Beaujolais

"Here, after a warm spring, frost came - we are so far not very sure about it's impact on the coming harvest. We keep on resisting by using various techniques. Here, pictures of this morning's battle. Another technique we are using is placing a sort of "braseros" between rows using fire to temper the atmosphere all along the night... " (April 15th)

Nouaison (Berry-Set)

"........the current situation in our vineyard. We have avoided storms and hails so far whereas our region has been impacted now for the second time in two weeks...Please keep fingers crossed for us! Grapes are growing, please see this morning's picture. We expect the harvest to start mid-September. " (July 10th)

Region: Beaujolais

Our exploration of French vineyards has often been guided by the study of soils and it was while investigating the wines of Côtes du Forez and Côte Roannaise in the Auvergne that I realized the vineyards of the Cru Beaujolais covered an area that is an extension of the same Massif Central. Our first visit to this geological outgrowth focused on the northern most crus of Julienas and Saint Amour. It was apparent from the start, by simply taking in the idyllic landscape and observing the small gnarly trunks, densely planted and “back-breakingly” low to the ground, that this region could produce some special wines...

Beaujolais takes its name from the region’s early capital and strategically placed town of Beaujeu. The first official record of vineyards in Beaujolais dates from 957 when the Seigneur of Beaujeu purchased vineyards in Morgon. It is more than likely, however, that with the important Roman metropolis of Lyons so close by, the Romans had planted vineyards in Beaujolais long before. Until recently, the red wines of Beaujolais were divided into four classifications: Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, Cru Beaujolais, and Beaujolais Nouveau, with Gamay being the only authorized grape. In 2011 a new AOC was created called Coteaux Bourguignons which includes vineyards in both Burgundy and Beaujolais and among other things, authorizes Pinot Noir to be grown in Beaujolais. There is also a small production of white wine which is classified as Beaujolais/Beaujolais Villages and made with Chardonnay or as Coteaux Bourguignons which permits a small percentage of other varieties to be blended with Chardonnay.

Beaujolais wines offer a unique combination of characteristics. Generally, the wines are very satisfying, enticingly aromatic and fruity with soft tannins and enough acidity to leave the palate refreshed. In contrast to their northern neighbor, Burgundy, Beaujolais wines are earthy rather than ephemeral. Like the Pinot Noir in Burgundy, the Gamay variety is intriguingly transparent as it expresses itself across the many Beaujolais terroirs. The key variables are much the same as those in Burgundy: soil composition, elevation, slope of the vineyard, and exposition. The style of winemaking reflects the vinification options of carbonic maceration, semi-carbonic and “classic”. Equally important is the quality of extraction as influenced by the length of maceration and the temperature of fermentation. And then there is the choice between selected and indigenous yeast and the quantity of SO2 added. The native of Beaujolais, Jules Chauvet, is credited with igniting the movement known now as “natural” wine. The ideas were practiced by a small group of his colleagues and have significantly influenced the younger generation of Beaujolais winemakers.

When we began importing Beaujolais in 2001, the marketplace was dominated by Georges DuBoeuf and other negociants and wines from independent producers were difficult to find. The last two decades has spawned a new generation of wine producers who sense the remarkable potential of their terroirs and are willing to do the hard work of farming the land, producing their wine and finding a clientele. In the U.S., the wines of Beaujolais have been too frequently associated with Beaujolais Nouveau. In contrast, our portfolio celebrates the variety of expression in Beaujolais and dispels the perception that all Beaujolais sing the same song. Finally, the wines of Beaujolais are remarkably versatile in terms of their ability to be paired with food; something long understood in Lyons where Beaujolais perfectly pairs with coq au vin, poached eggs and lardon, pâte and cornichon, grilled or cured sausages, steak and potatoes. Beaujolais and “frites” – now that’s some comfort.