I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have been introduced to Emilien Feneuil. The first time we met, I went to his cellar at 4pm for a tasting. I ended up leaving at 10:30pm. It was just the two of us, tasting, talking, sharing ideas, and eventually a bottle from Richard Leroy which I had in the car. I was absolutely spell-bounded by this guy and his wines, and can safely say I have never experienced wines with such purity, finesse and vitality. His wines are so delicate and weightless that you almost feel like you’re floating in space. Tasting his Petit Meslier was so strange that it felt like time stopped, and in the silence all the frequencies in the room changed. Left speechless with an incredible tingling sensation running through my body, these wines seemed to offer some form of energy that I have never experienced before.
When we visited one of his parcels in Sermiers it was like a scene from another planet. I asked him why there were trees growing in the middle of the vineyard. He explained that he had been in Morocco in a small village, and stumbled on an incredible wild vineyard by chance. The vines were so old that they were essentially trees, their trunks with a diameter of around 30cm! But most importantly, in amongst the vineyard were an olive, an almond and a fig tree. The biodiversity and nature there was so moving that he decided to plant trees in his own vineyards to try and recreate the same effect. It was simply quite stunning.
Emilien has 17 small parcels across 3 villages, (Sermiers, Chamery and Écueil), totalling a mere 2.5ha. All are certified organic. The soil types change dramatically, especially across different slopes where you will find geological layers made up of sands, marls, clays and soft limestone. He farms almost beyond organics, with an aim to preserve and promote life even at the microbial level – as such refusing to use any heavy machinery so as not to disturb the topsoil. Emilien seems in a different zone, in tune with nature and with his wines, in an almost magical sense. I was lucky enough to receive miniscule quantities of these mystical gems. These wines are completely natural apart from the liqueur de tirage for the Champagnes, and 30ppm SO2 added during pressing. This is indeed his first release, and is not to be missed.