Clos Bateau is Thierry and Sylvie Klok de Visser, who in 2019 left the restaurant scene in Amsterdam to pursue their dream of winemaking in Beaujolais. They tend to about 5.5 hectares of vineyards in Lantignié, a prized village just north of Lyon that many state should be the 11th Cru of Beaujolais! Their vineyards are occupied by old-vine Gamay (at least 50 years) and a small amount of younger Chardonnay.
When Thierry and Sylvie first arrived, some of the vineyards were productive but a smaller portion was abandoned old vines - the couple didn’t feel right about tearing it out, so instead they work very hard to tend the abandoned vines, resulting in low yields but some really special grapes!
Their philosophy is to work with nature, not against it, and they put a huge emphasis on biodiversity. They have planted over 100 fruit and nut trees on the vineyards, and their sheep help by eating weeds and fertilizing the soil. Herbs are collected from the land to make teas and infusions to nurture the vines. Since the beginning, one of their goals has been to certify the vines organic and this is currently pending.
Clos Bateau winemaking style
They let the moon cycles lead their winemaking decisions including in the cellar, such as when to press, bottle, and how long to macerate. Only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation and no filtering or fining agents are used - basically, as little intervention as possible. Due to the low yields, production is very limited - they only make about 1100 cases each vintage. The wines however have already been very well received - from the light, wild and vibrant red Joujou to the impressive terroir-driven Côte de Brouilly ‘Le Pavé’.