For the launch of our interview feature “In the Vines with..” we are thrilled to start with one of the greatest Burgundian growers, Jean-Philippe Fichet.
10 thought-provoking questions & answers from Mersault.
1. What is your most important wine experience?
It was in 1992 when one of my owners ended the lease of vines that I managed. The area accounted for 80% of my production. I wondered for many months how I could continue to work as a winemaker because I had just invested in a new building and heavily in debt. A new owner then trusted me by giving me the management of the plots of Meursault Chevalières et Meursault Le Tesson- Meursault Le Meix sous le Chateau.
2. Have you done a ‘Wine Pilgrimage’ and if so, where and why?
For me a wine begins with the work of the land during a growing year, in Burgundy our plots are easily accessible. This is why the landscape of other terraced vineyards has always impressed me with its beauty but also with the difficulty of the work. I went to discover the vineyards of the Douro Valley in Portugal with its terraces supported by dry stone walls built by hand, it is a landscape of exceptional beauty but how much work to manage those plots of land. Recently I went to discover the Vines de Lavaux in Switzerland and I felt the same admiration for the morphology of this vineyard.
3. Who would you prefer to work with?
My two best friends who are passionate about wine: for me tasting is a moment of sharing and exchange.
4. What would your (3) best recommendations be if someone came to visit your area?
– Discover the vineyard in June when the vine is in bloom to smell its fragrance.
– Learn about growing and winemaking to understand that wine is the result of a long process of work
– Taste in a cellar and get to know everything which goes into creating that wine.
5. With whom would you dream to work?
Someone who has the same motivation as me.
6. Who is or was your mentor and why did you choose him/her?
My uncle Georges Coche, now deceased. He was a wise man and an enthusiast. His vision of vine management and viticulture, together with his respect for tradition captivated me and enjoyed listening to him talking about his job as a winemaker. He was patient and a perfectionist.
7. What motivates you?
The result of a job well done.
8. What is the biggest challenge you face today?
Finding a “right hand” to help me who has the same work vision as mine.
9. What is your greatest achievement?
The acquisition and establishment of my domaine at Creux du Coche in Meursault.
10. And now?
I am going to prune in the vineyards of a fellow winemaker who is unwell and needs some help.