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Les Vignes de Paradis (Dominique Lucas)

Dominique Lucas has a family tradition in winemaking for five generations and a family estate in the heart of Cote de Beaune and studied wine there. Despite all that, he decided to leave Burgundy and make wine in Savoie since he found the AOC in Burgundy too restrictive to his liking while his neighbours were not impressed with his view on organic methods. 

He arrived at Crépy in 2001 to make Chasselas, without any prior knowledge of the variety. But by 2008 he decided to start his winery in the sub-appellations of Crépy and Marin with a focus on Chasselas employing organic and biodynamic methods. As a man who enjoys experiments, he planted varieties not allowed within the AOC - Sauvignon, Savagnin, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris and made them into varietal wines. Concrete eggs, concrete pyramids, oak barrels and amphorae are used to age his wines as he prefers natural micro-oxidation of his wines during maturation. The concrete vessels are built utilising spring water from Thonon les Bains and local gavel and sand from Chamonix. A specially commissioned concrete pyramid tank inspired by the Egyptian Cheops is used for Chardonnay, also made from local materials. The Kheops is aligned to the cardinal points to help direct energy downwards from the pyramid's point into the wine. Dominique finds it gives a very mineral, angular and chiselled wine. Music is also involved in the maturation of his wines, where Bach and Vivaldi are played regularly. A string quartet invited to play in his cellars twice a year. 

In the vineyards, Dominique fully embraces biodynamic methods: vineyard plots are ploughed with a horse. He also dynamizes his preparations using plants and essential oils but chose not to join Demeter. He believes the key to working with Chasselas is to maintain a low yield, hence he is ruthless in de-budding and achieves a low yield of 35 hl/ ha. To achieve optimum ripeness, he likes to do two to three passages when picking and with his nine varieties harvest usually takes more than two months to complete. The grapes are then sorted through two vibrating sorting tables to only single out the best grapes for fermentation.