Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson

— About —

The Buisson family name is etched deep into the history of Saint-Romain, the high elevation appellation in its own little Burgundy nook, to the west of Meursault and north of Auxey-Duresses. Grape-growing records mentioning the Buissons reach back to the 12th century but they boast a semi-official start date of 1758.

The family expanded their holdings beyond Saint-Romain in the early 20th century but their ‘modern’ history reflects that of Saint-Romain itself, when in 1947 the climat was granted AOC status, and the pioneering Henri Buisson moved from farming to estate-bottling the first ever Saint-Romain AOC wines. Henri’s son Gilles took over in the 1980s, and he in turn passed the torch to brothers Franck and Frederick, who are the eighth generation of family vignerons.

The Buissons are among a handful of key producers based in Saint-Romain and the brothers are leading lights in the quest for greater recognition for this underrated appellation.

Eleven of the twenty-odd hectares of estate-owned vines are in Saint-Romain, across eight different sites, headlined by the signature plots of Sous La Velle for Chardonnay and Sous Roche for Pinot Noir. The remaining holdings are spread across Cote de Beaune, Volnay, Pommard, Meursault and three plots on the hill of Corton.

They were very early exponents of organic and biodynamic vineyard practice, and are fully certified as organic (AB, or Association Biologique via Ecocert in 2006) and biodynamic (2019 through Biodyvin).

Since 2017 they have also expanded their range through judicious ’exchanges of fruit’ with a number of certified organic producers in Chassagne, Santenay and Macon with more to come. These wines are labelled as Maison Buisson rather than Domaine Buisson.

Older brother Franck is the business and operations guru, while young gun Frederick is the winemaker. They share their family passion for organics and low-intervention winemaking, and are quick to point out that their’s is not a typical younger generation counter-revolution to industrial agriculture but rather a passing-on of the family tradition. The Buissons were way ahead of their time! This tradition includes low and zero-sulphur usage, with Gilles Buisson first bottling their Absolu, zero-added sulphur wines back in 2004, way before current market fascination with sans soufre releases. From 2018 they only add sulphur pre-bottling, and that is at minimal 40-50 mgs/ ltr.

Franck sums up the domaine style succinctly – ‘it is all about balance.’ Their aim is to find the point of balance within each vineyard plot of vines, with a focus on minerality and sapidity in the whites, and fine tannins and linearity in the reds. Oak treatment, fermentation vessels, whole bunch levels, these change every vintage.. their only dogmatic position is the commitment to organic viticulture. That is unwavering.