Grégoire Hoppenot

All Guns Blazing: Beaujolais from “…One of the region’s most exciting emerging talents” [William Kelley]

For a winemaker who was yet to prune a vine in 2017, Grégoire Hoppenot has made a hell of a start. After releasing his second vintage, Hoppenot was crowned with the prestigious Newcomer of the Year award by France’s La Revue du Vin de France, and the critical accolades have flowed on from there.

Although light on practical experience initially, Hoppenot knows these hills well. Before founding his domaine, Hoppenot was régisseur at Chapoutier’s Burgundy arm, Maison Trénel. Previously he had made the wines at Vignerons de Bel-Air, a 100-year-old cooperative with 250 growers on its roster. Following his dream to start a family estate, Grégoire left Trénel in 2017 to earn his growing stripes with Pierre-Marie Chermette.

The plan was to work with the region’s great growers for several years while piecing together enough vineyards to strike out on his own. Lady luck had other ideas. No sooner than he started working with Chermette, Hoppenot caught wind of the impending lease of Domaine Les Roches de Garants, the estate of the retiring Jean-Paul Champagnon. To cut a long story short, despite many suitors, Champagnon was impressed with the energetic young grower’s vision for the estate and his plans to convert all the vineyards to organics. The documents were signed early in 2018.

Hoppenot confessed to us that the idea of going from zero to taking on nine hectares was a daunting one. Working with organics is central to Hoppenot’s philosophy, and while applying an organic regime in old Goblet vines—where a tractor cannot be used—is tough enough at the best of times, doing so on the steep hillsides of Les Garants and Poncié is another matter altogether. Have you ever wondered why there are so few organic domaines in Beaujolais? Indeed, during negotiations with Champagnon, Hoppenot had asked whether the retiring grower would be willing to split the vineyards down the middle, and he would take half? The answer was no, yet Hoppenot knew he could not walk away given the terroirs in question.

Hoppenot’s nine hectares span the gamut of Fleurie’s finest terroirs and are all based in the north of the climat close to Moulin-a-Vent. There are old vines in Poncié, Les Garants, Les Roches and Les Moriers as well as a small parcel of centurion vines in La Roilette. The icing on the cake, according to Hoppenot, is the monopole of the Clos de l’Amandier, a 0.75-hectare lieu-dit at the foot of Poncié.

Organics are being rolled out in stages, with cover crops and regenerative agriculture techniques used to improve the health of the soil. Hoppenot has also found time to replant a parcel in his largest holding, Les Moriers, cordon trained to enable the grower to use the tractor for biodynamic treatments, cultivation and to run a taller canopy.

Inherited as part of the lease, the winery is about large enough to swing a cat, and enjoys a stunning panorama over Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent. The wines are naturally vinified in concrete tanks with whole bunches. Macerations last for a couple of weeks, and the temperature is kept below 30 degrees Celsius. Only the single-terroir parcel of Les Moriers takes in more extended maceration, and this wine is primarily aged in large oak foudre. No sulphur is added until after malolactic, yet the wines remain pure and stable. From a merchant/winemaking background, Hoppenot has what we might call a ‘technical palate’ and abhors faults or off flavours. At our recent visit, we tasted most of the wines Hoppenot has released going back to 2018, and despite the low sulphur additions, each wine was as clean as a whistle.

The style is one of purity and precision with a focus on freshness, transparency and elegance. Although the cru wines will age do not come to these wines looking for blockbusters. Instead, these are wines of delicacy, floral-scented fruits, freshness and minerality. A star is born.

The Range

Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Les Moriers 2020
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Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Les Moriers 2020

Hoppenot farms almost three-hectares of this imposing east-facing terroir overlooking the famous windmill of Moulin-a-Vent. Les Moriers shares a border with Poncié, Les Roches and Les Garants and the vines at the top of the vineyard lie a stone’s throw from the winery. Vine age varies from 35 to 90 years. Rising from 260 metres on the Moulin-a-Vent border to 340 metres at the top of the slope, this steep hillside contains two mineral rich soil types: the vines at the top of the slope are on very poor soils of shallow granitic sand; then it becomes heavier in the Bas de Moriers with increasing clay concentration over the granite bedrock. Grégoire Hoppenot farms in both sectors, reserving the best fruit for this single-terroir bottling.Recognising the power of this terroir, the winemaking incudes eight months in both large oak foudre and mature Burgundian barrels that have seen five vintages. In the right hands, Les Moriers gifts a Fleurie of singular intensity and aromatic detail, and that is what we have here. With layers of wild berry fruit wreathed in smoke and a long, slow-releasing finish, it’s the most intense and structured of this grower’s wines yet remains deliciously bright, silky and poised. Brilliant.

Recognising the power of this terroir, the winemaking incudes eight months in both large oak foudre and mature Burgundian barrels that have seen five vintages. In the right hands, Les Moriers gifts a Fleurie of singular intensity and aromatic detail, and that is what we have here. With layers of wild berry fruit wreathed in smoke and a long, slow-releasing finish, it’s the most intense and structured of this grower’s wines yet remains deliciously bright, silky and poised. Brilliant.

“Needs air as tight to start but slowly opening in the glass – becoming more and more perfumed. Extra impact here, a certain power but framed with perfume rather than tannin – there is only a small grain of inconsequential tannin. A fine finishing intensity here too…”
Bill Nanson, Burgundy Report
“The 2020 Fleurie Les Moriers has turned out beautifully, wafting from the glass with notes of cherries, red berries and pomegranate mingled with hints of spices and peonies. Medium to full-bodied, lively and succulent, with excellent depth and concentration, it remains beautifully balanced at 13.5% alcohol.”
94 points, William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Les Moriers 2020
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Gregoire Hoppenot Morgon Corcelette 2021
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Gregoire Hoppenot Morgon Corcelette 2021

Grégoire Hoppenot describes the workload required for his 0.7 hectares of 35-year-old vines in Morgon as “epic”. It’s a magnificent-looking site, steeply sloped (30% gradient) at almost 400m elevation with a south to southwest orientation. The soils are stony and shallow, with pieces of granite littered throughout. The vines are at a density of 10,000 plants per hectare, giving some indication of the challenge pickers face during harvest. Following 15 days of whole-bunch fermentation with ambient yeasts in concrete vats (60hl) the wine was rested for eight months in both large oak foudre and mature Burgundian barrels that had previously seen five vintages.

Gregoire Hoppenot Morgon Corcelette 2021
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Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Clos De l'Amandier 2021
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Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Clos De l'Amandier 2021

Le Clos De l’Amandier is a Hoppenot monopole, just three-quarters of a hectare of 25-year-old vines located at the southeast end of the Poncié climat. Like many of Hoppenot’s plots, this is also steeply sloped (30% gradient). It faces south to southwest, and its highest point reaches almost 400m elevation. The soils are a mixture of granitic sand and shallow, stony clay overlying hard granite bedrock. Unusually for this grower, half of these vines are cordon trained (the balance are his typical gobelet). Following 15 days of whole-bunch fermentation with ambient yeasts in concrete vats (60hl) the wine was rested for eight months in both large oak foudre and mature Burgundian barrels that had previously seen five vintages.

Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Clos De l'Amandier 2021
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Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Les Moriers 2021
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Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Les Moriers 2021

Hoppenot farms almost three-hectares of this imposing east-facing terroir overlooking the famous windmill of Moulin-a-Vent. Les Moriers shares a border with Poncié, Les Roches and Les Garants and the vines at the top of the vineyard lie a stone’s throw from the winery. Vine age varies from 35 to 90 years. Rising from 260 metres on the Moulin-a-Vent border to 340 metres at the top of the slope, this steep hillside contains two mineral rich soil types: the vines at the top of the slope are on very poor soils of shallow granitic sand; then it becomes heavier in the Bas de Moriers with increasing clay concentration over the granite bedrock. Grégoire Hoppenot farms in both sectors, reserving the best fruit for this single-terroir bottling.Recognising the power of this terroir, the winemaking incudes eight months in both large oak foudre and mature Burgundian barrels that have seen five vintages. In the right hands, Les Moriers gifts a Fleurie of singular intensity and aromatic detail, and that is what we have here. 

Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Les Moriers 2021
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Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Origines 2021
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Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Origines 2021

Origines is the home for Grégoire Hoppenot’s Fleurie vineyards that are in conversion to organics. As such, his release includes a wealth of old-vine material from the lieux-dits of Les Roches, La Roilette, Les Garants and Les Moriers, with the average age of vines touching 50 years. Hoppenot harvested these vines early, which in part accounts for the vibrancy and mineral clarity in the glass. This was raised for six months in concrete following 12 days of whole-bunch fermentation with ambient yeasts.

“Bursting with aromas of raspberries, petals and sweet spices, the 2021 Fleurie Origines is medium-bodied, satiny and fleshy, with lively acids and a saline finish. Melting and fine-boned, it's an ethereal, refreshing wine that's already drinking well.”
90 points, William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Origines 2021
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“[Hoppenot] emphasizes the importance of texture among his aesthetic priorities. The results are perfumed, supple and charming. With three vintages under his belt to date, he hasn't missed a beat so far, and Hoppenot gets my nod as one of the region's most exciting emerging talents.” William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

“I would tip Grégoire Hoppenot to develop into a major player in the appellation.” Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy

"Hoppenot is a bit of a star" Jancis Robinson MW

 “Grégoire Hoppenot is to be followed closely... A great future in Fleurie!” La Revue du Vin de France 

Country

France

Primary Region

Beaujolais

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Winemaker: Grégoire Hoppenot

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