Let us put the work of a vigneron, or rather vigneronne into perspective. “I was working in the vineyard on 26 July,” Cecile Tremblay nonchalantly tells me. “Then I had my baby on 28 July. I was back in the vines the following week.” So not only did Cecile contend with a horrendously difficult growing season, ostensibly on her own since she seems to do everything herself, but she also oversaw the construction of a new winery opposite the “Tres Girard” restaurant in Morey and to cap it all, she has another bun in the oven. The phrase “indomitable spirit” is often bandied round, but I cannot think of anyone it applies to more than this wild haired charismatic lady pouring her wines, accompanied by her beloved hound Cacao snoring just behind, oblivious to the hard work of its master. Her domaine is a relatively new arrival, Cecile having given birth to it just ten years ago, 1 January 2003 according to writer Bill Nanson. I ask whether Cecile aspired towards the life as a vigneronne as a child growing up in Vosne-Romanee, her grandmother part of the Jayer family. “When I was young I said: I hate this work,” she replies forcefully. “Today I say: it is the best work in my life. I love working in the vineyard. I love understanding the soil and the terroirs.” At that time, their vineyards had been rented out for two generations until 2003 when Cecile decided to throw herself into winemaking and tend the vines herself after not renewing one of the contracts on the family’s vineyard. Cecile comments that she “started small,” but today she looks after 4-hectares over 11 different appellations between Nuits Saint Georges and Gevrey-Chambertin. A bit like Jean-Nicolas Meo, she just has to patiently wait until pre-existing contracts run out. There is still a smattering of parcels under contract. The bad news is that lasts for another ten years. The good news is that it contains plots in Echezeaux and Morey Saint Denis. And of course, by that time she will be aided by her two (or more) children. “Sometimes I had to pick two or three times in the same vineyard. The 2012 vintage was very difficult during the spring and I worked a lot. I do some biodynamic practices, but I don’t have time to do all the preparation and I am not certified. When we pick we use small 5kg crates and I was on the table de trie with a baby in my arms. (You probably have the same image in your head as I did when she told me.) I started the picking on 20 September. For the vinification it was a low intervention. I cropped at around 27 hectoliters per hectare on average. I used some whole cluster fruit depending on the cru.” This was my first visit to the domaine and it clearly deserves the plaudits that have praised her wines. I would not go as far as to eulogize everything put before me, but what Cecile has is personality and that personality suffuses her wines that all had something to say. I cannot wait to return and taste more of Cecile’s wines in bottle and perhaps change a diaper or two.
Importer: Peter Weygandt, Unionville, PA; tel. (610) 486-0800 and Justerini & Brooks and Vine Trail both in the UK.