Domaine du Chétif Quart

6 ha
Lucas D’Heilly Huberdeau

The Domaine du Chétif Quart is a family domain of six hectares in the Côte Chalonnaise region of Burgundy. The family home and winery are in the small hamlet of Cercot at the foot of Mont Avril, just south of the Givry appellation.

The majority of the domain’s vineyards are on the slopes of Mont Avril between 300 and 400 meters in altitude. Lucas D’Heilly Huberdeau took over his family’s domain in 2019 and with the vintage 2021 changed the domain name from D’Heilly Huberdeau to Chétif Quart, reflecting the domain’s “lieu dit”. Lucas’s parents, Pierre D’Heilly and Martine Huberdeau, both professors of Ecology at the Sorbonne in Paris, arrived in Cercot in 1978 to, as one says, ‘practice what they preached’.

Since the beginning, Pierre and Martine farmed organically, making their estate one of the earliest organic estates in Burgundy. Lucas divides his time by working half of the day in the vineyards and winery before going for the afternoons to his medical practice, as a general practitioner. He has carried on his parents work in the vineyards and after creating 50 bird shelters in the vineyards, he has received certification from the government as a protected bird sanctuary. The harvest is gathered by hand and the fermentations occur with indigenous yeasts.

Crémant de Bourgogne

Domaine du Chétif Quart is one of the very rare producers in Burgundy to make an “estate-bottled” Cremant. Lucas and his two empoyees begin each day in the cellar with some coffee and some hand riddling. The Cremant is kept in the cellar ‘sur lies” for between one and two years. After the first year, disgorgements begin and continue each month, thereby making the hand riddling a year-round activity. The Cremant is produced from a single vintage and is typically a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Aligoté.

Givry Blanc 1er Cru “ Le Paradis”

« Le Paradis » is a postage stamp sized 1er Cru vineyard in Givry. Its name indicates that the location was once home to a Gallo-Roman burial ground. Appropriately, the wine has an “other-worldly” quality to it by virtue of its intensity and weightlessness. 70% of the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and 30% in Burgundy barrels. The same proportions are used for maturing the wine.

Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Rouge

The Côte Chalonnaise Rouge is a blend of Pinot Noir parcels. The fermentaions are at low temperatures and the wine is matured in old barrels for less than a year. Lucas favors pushing down the cap rather than pumping over the juice and uses very little SO2 throughout the process. 20mg/L of SO2 is added before bottling.

Region: Bourgogne

The wine region of Burgundy extends from the town of Chatillon sur Seine in the north to Lyon in the south, though; I prefer to put the southern boundary at Macon, and in this way leave the Beaujolais region as a separate entity. Thus, Burgundy includes the wine regions of Côtes de Chatillon, Yonne, Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Côtes du Couchey and Maconnais. The vast majority of Burgundy’s wines are produced from three grape varieties: Aligoté, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and they are produced without blending the different grape types. The result, therefore, is a mapping of these three grape types onto the whole range of Burgundy’s vineyards which consequently offers the wine lover a unique window through which to notice and appreciate the concept of terroir. The difference in taste between Chardonnay grown in Chablis and Chardonnay grown in Macon is something that will always delight me...

The Burgundy vineyards have been intimately worked and studied for many centuries which has resulted in a complex and highly detailed system of nomenclature, one that beginning in the 1930’s the INAO has tried to formalize into a logical network of “appellations controlees”. The system of appellations is uniform in its general outline for Burgundy’s different wine regions, but much less uniform in its application. For example, each of the Premier Cru vineyards in the Côte D’Or and Côte Chalonnaise is associated with its village of origin and corresponds specifically to one plot of land within that village, whereas in the Yonne or Chablis to be exact, the Premier Cru vineyards never make reference to their villages of origin and moreover, the 79 Premier Cru vineyards typically use only 17 names. So, putting differences aside and embracing contradiction, one can say with confidence that the overall appellation structure is organized from the general to the specific. At the most general level, vineyards from any of the Burgundy wine regions can produce white, red, rosé or sparkling wines with the Bourgogne appellation. At the first level of specificity (and beginning of disparity among the regions), there are 24 regional appellations, each of which is comprised of a group of villages which share a common appellation name. Two examples, which illustrate the possible variation in size, are Côtes de Nuits Villages and Macon-Villages. Côtes de Nuits Villages includes nine villages whereas Macon-Villages includes 83 villages. At the next level of specificity, there are 44 local appellations, each of which corresponds to a specific village such as Gevrey-Chambertin and Chassagne-Montrachet. Within the local appellation structure, but higher up the hierarchal scale, there are 750 Premier Cru appellations which mark specific vineyard boundaries within a particular village. Examples are Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Petite Chapelle” and Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru“Les Chenevottes”. At the highest level of the paradigm, there are 33 Grand Cru appellations which similarly mark specific vineyard boundaries within a specific village (or spanning two!).

Examples of Grand Cru vineyards are Mazis-Chambertin and Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet. One of the lovely idiosyncrasies is evident from these examples; namely, why the grand cru vineyard “climat” names Chambertin and Montrachet are attached to their respective communes at all appellation levels.

If one is interested and persistent enough to comprehend the lay of the land in terms of its geography, geology and nomenclature, the picture quickly becomes much more complex when the land is divided between the many thousands of Burgundian wine-growers. The average land holding in Burgundy is two hectares (five acres) and in some of the most illustrious vineyards such as Batard-Montrachet a mere twelve hectares can be divided among 55 growers.

A deep knowledge of the wines produced in Burgundy, it is easy to see, would be best left up to those who have lots of free time. People that are teachers or NBA basketball players might have enough vacation time to tackle such a project, but only the NBA player would have the money to taste the wines. Happily, even without four months of vacation or enormous resources, the wines of Burgundy are there to give us all the taste of one of the vine’s favorite places on earth.

Burgundy wine growers certainly have no special claim to the concept of terroir, but they have embraced the notion of terroir in a way that brings it to our attention and gives us much to think about. If our attention is turned to the infinite variations of our mother earth and its ability to give these variations expression through the grape vine and its transformation into wine, then what a lovely reminder that we are from the earth, nourished by the earth and will return to it.