Crawling Through the Cellar at Louis Max

Domaine Louis Max Mercurey Rouge and Blanc

Negociants also have domaine wines from their own vineyards. Thanks to Lompian Wines, we can enjoy these wines back home in Minnesota!

Moral of the Story: When your wine industry friend sets up a visit, JUMP ON IT!
While planning our visit in France last fall, I contacted a couple of local Minnesota wine industry folks for any tips or visits we might make while in the Côte de Nuits in Burgundy. I didn’t hear anything back, so I finished up our planning on my own. Then, when we were in France on our last full day in Burgundy, I received an email from Fred who works for a small importer back home:

“Hi Jeff,
This is probably too late, but just in case, here you go:
Dear Frederic,
I will be pleased to give you a tour of the winery this Tuesday afternoon after 3 O’clock , or Wednesday the 26th if it suits you better. “

And just like that, we had one more visit! Wednesday morning with Sophie, the oenologue (head winemaker) at Louis Max, a negociant in Nuits St. George.

A Thing or Two about Negociants
Negociants are brokers. They buy grapes, unfinished wines, or finished wines from winegrowers too small to export on their own. The negociant has the connections to sell the wines to a larger market. Often, a negociant does have their own estate wines, but their business is much larger, to include all their suppliers in their international dealings. As a consumer, my impression had been that negociant wines were a step below estate grown & bottled wines. After our tour at Louis Max, I had a distinctly different impression. Sophie, the oenologue, and Eric the cellarmaster care for every barrel of wine as if it were their own. They have long term relationships with their growers and they work closely to ensure both vineyard and cellar are managed for the absolute highest quality! In recent vintages, they are moving to organic work in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the winery with native yeasts and minimal treatments.

I hope you enjoy crawling around the cellar at Louis Max in the slideshow below. (click on any photo to enter the slide show, “escape” to return).

Our deepest thanks to Sophie, Eric and to Fred Petters and Lompian Wines for setting up our tour!

6 Responses to “Crawling Through the Cellar at Louis Max”
  1. Lynn Gowdy says:

    Enjoyed reading about your adventure Jeff! Nice to hear the growers Louis Max works with are transitioning to organic vineyards. Very cool!

  2. Duff's Wines says:

    Jeff, Good to hear that they are as interesting as people as they are as winemakers. I get several of their efforts each year. It’s difficult keeping up with all the nuances, crus, etc. of Burgundy so i go all in with Louis Max. Have never been disappointed. Thanks for the post.

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  1. […] previous post, here, described our fun visit with Sophie Doche, the oenologue at Louis Max.  While the winery is […]

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