Thiébault Huber spent many years working in Alsace, as a sommelier and then for a short while at Domaine Marcel Deiss. His grandparents ran the Verdereau family domaine (founded in the 19th century) but retired in 1974, having rented out the vines for the next 20 years as no one in the family wanted to take on the project. In 1994 Thiébault left Alsace to restore the domaine and began the process for recovering all the family vines, which finally came to a contractual close in 2010. He now has 9.5 hectares (just over 23 acres) under ownership which include Chardonnay from Puligny Montrachet and Meursault (3 hectares) and Pinot Noir equally distributed between Pommard and Volnay.
Thiébault is the president of the Volnay winegrowers’ association, started converting all his vines to organic and biodynamic farming practices in 2001 and was Demeter certified in 2005. His thoughts behind this multi-year process toward certification and vineyard revitalization are simple:
“One of my plots was next to the vines of Frédéric Lafarge and I was fascinated to see the difference between our vines. I soon decided that if I wanted to translate the different terroirs in the most efficient way, then I would have to follow these rules in my vines.”
Pommard, known only for Pinot Noir, with no Chardonnay vines grown past the 1960s, usually has a more aggressive texture, more tannins, and is tough to warm up to unless the wine has some bottle age. But Thiébault’s Pommard ‘Clos du Colombier’ Monopole is different, unique, and very approachable.
The walled vineyard had been owned by a few families including Pothier and Boillot but after years of looking over the vineyard through the windows of his home in Pommard, Thiébault acquired the clos in 2011. Further, the grapes had historically been sold to negociants, bottled under a common Pommard or Bourgogne Rouge designation but are now rescued, to be domaine bottled for the first time under Huber Verdereau.
The walled parcel is .78 hectares (1.92 acres) with vines at 28-42 years of age and is located right at the center of the village. Seventy percent of the vineyard is actually designated at 1er Cru, about .56 hectares, with the remaining vines at Village cru level. Of course my curiosity has now been activated, wanting to taste all the 1er Cru barrels before blending, to see if there is a noticeable difference in flavors, texture, and aromatics. If I ever get to visit with Thiébault that will be my first question, or should I say request. Just under 200 cases were bottled in 2014.