Château des Rontets, Mâconnais


Fabio Montrasi and Claire Gazeau

The Dream of Fabio and Claire

Pouilly-Fuissé is the name of an appellation located about 10 kms from the city of Mâcon in Southern Burgundy. The vineyards of Pouilly-Fuissé are punctuated by the majestic cliff of Solutré, with Chardonnay being the only grape permitted in the appellation. Château des Rontets had been owned by the Gazeau-Varambon family since 1850 and is located at the top of the weeded hill at the south of the village of Fuissé, in the resort known as Les Rontets. These vineyards are surrounded by stone walls, thus forming a clos, with all the vines surrounding the house.

Fabio Montrasi was born in Milano where he met his wife Claire Gazeau. They worked together for a number of years in architecture. Fabio also spent a year in London where he had a job as a copywriter in an advertising firm. When Claire's grandmother died, the two decided to return to her estate in Fuissé and take over the property. Instead of simply cultivating the grapes and contracting them to négociants, they decided to return the soil to its natural state and put their own personal mark on the wines. The total surface of the vines is six hectares with the oldest vines date back to 1910 and 1920 while all the other vines inside the clos were planted between 1945 and 1975. The whole vineyard is cultivated and plowed, with no use of chemical pesticides. Organic agriculture is adopted on half of the vineyards and will extend to the totality in the next few years. The couple's first aim is to produce grapes of the best quality: optimal ripeness is the principal goal of every year and are picked by hand and in small cases to respect the integrity of the fruit.