Château de Béru

“We’re a small family with a great past. We arrived here about five centuries ago and have been working with wine every since. We don’t seek a tried-and-tested recipe but rather wines that have their own personality and character. If someone relies on the whims of the weather, every vintage requires a different approach.” – Athénaïs de Béru

 

 

Natural wine as a movement elevates new names every day from wine regions never heard of before. Among them, we can also find several-generation family wineries, but most often they are freshly-started, several-hectare initiatives full of innovative ideas and an experimental spirit. And precisely this reason makes it so unusual that one of the long-established, iconic estates of the style is a several-hundred-year old chateau from Chablis.

 

The Béru family has been living here for 400 years, but the history of the chateau goes back even longer. The cellar was built in the 12th century, and the monks of the nearby Pontigny Abbey made wine here and they put a wall around the few hectares of vineyards that belonged to the cellar. Today, the walled vineyard is the highly-regarded Clos Béru, a 4-hectare monopole vineyard. Ever since the Béru family has lived here, wine has always been made on the old estate, and it was only interrupted by the phylloxera epidemic that swept through Europe, but in 1987 Comte Éric de Béru replanted 15 hectares of the estate with Chardonnay. His daughter, Athénaïs, left a successful career behind when in 2006 she returned from the financial world and took over the entire estate from her father. “I did almost everything differently than usual,” says Athénaïs. Organic cultivation was fundamental for her from the first day, then the next step came quickly after the transition – since 2011 the whole estate has been certified as biodynamic. The wines ferment spontaneously, mainly in barrels, then are bottled following lengthy ageing, without filtering, with a minimal amount of sulphur or none at all.