This is the latest time of the year we have visited Chablis, just a couple of days to visit a few winemakers before moving on to Beaune further south for a week. From a landscape photography viewpoint the timing was perfect, the leaves of the Chardonnay vines all ready to fall and creating a golden hue as far as the eye could see.
Driving around the slopes of Les Clos, the Grand Cru climat, we could see a white horse slowly plodding between the vines. We stopped to investigate and met Arnaud who has two such horses and works for a number of clients who use a completely organic approach to their winemaking. This involves ploughing between the vines without tractors, avoiding the use of pesticides and fungicides or anything that is chemical instead of natural, and in some cases working the land according to the phases of the moon. With the latter this would be a fully “biodynamique” approach.
Arnaud has five client winemakers in Chablis, including Richard Rottiers from Domaine Les Malandes who is one of our favourites, and several from the Beaune area. To round off the day in this small but world famous wine village, we were having dinner in Bistrot des Grand Crus when I told Christian, the owner, that we’d met a man with a big white horse earlier to which he said “Oh that must be Arnaud, he lives next door to me”!