Clos de la Bonnette
If you put a monetary return on all the work involved in both restoring this vineyard and actually farming the site you just wouldn’t even consider digging the first post hole. Every time I visit this incredible terraced site I just look around in disbelief that anyone would even attempt what they have and are still doing here in Condrieu.
Domaine Clos de la Bonnette was purchased in 1992 by wife and husband team, Isabelle Guiller and Henri Montabonnet. Isabelle had her eye on this abandoned vineyard site for many years before they moved forward. The main reason that the site remained unoccupied was because the hillsides were in complete disarray, as many of the stone retaining walls had collapsed over the decades due to neglect. Restoring this property could only be done as a labor of love, not a commercial venture.
Henri did most of the restoration himself, rebuilding the walls by hand. Isabelle took on the task of cultivating the indigenous flora around the property, making it more biodiverse. Because of the location of the vineyard, Henri and Isabelle are surrounded by forest a creek and another hillside of ruins. This natural barrier allows them to more easily produce organically, a process by which they have farmed since they began replanting.
The quality of the fruit is so high that Marcel Guigal wanted to purchase their grapes and put them under contract. Thankfully, they politely declined. Due to narrow terraces & steep slopes site is unsuitable for mechanical harvesters, tractors or horses. So everything must be done by hand.
Clos de la Bonnette is now approx 5 hectares, split between the Condrieu and Cote Rotie AOP’s.