Winemakers like Morgane Seuillot are bucking convention in Burgundy.

By Alice Feiring
Updated September 19, 2019
Credit: Alba Morassutti

For decades there were only a handful of Burgundy domaines—Domaine de Chassorney, Philippe Pacalet, Dominique Derain, and Domaine Prieuré Roch—making natural wine. While they were rock stars in New York, Tokyo, and Copenhagen restaurants, they got no respect at home. People snickered: Crazy folk.

But change has steamrolled into Beaune, and this famed destination in the heart of Burgundy now has a flourishing natural wine scene. In the vines, many more vignerons and négociants are challenging the rules of this innately conservative region. Instrumental in this movement is a brilliant young winemaker whose name is Morgane Seuillot.

Not yet 30, Seuillot is the determined daughter of the most respected horse-plower in the Côte d’Or (yes, there are still horse-plowers in Burgundy), so the epiphany she reached while studying for a master’s in viticulture, winemaking, and wine sales was not surprising: What she liked most was getting her hands dirty. That led her to seek out underappreciated, underpriced vineyards—six humble parcels in the Hautes-Côtes region—and to give them grand cru treatment. Dad does the plowing, Seuillot does the organic farming, and she makes the wines with nothing added or taken away. Vibrant Aligoté. Sensual Pinot Noir. No one is joking now; all they say is how good these wines are.

Burgundy Goes Natural

Four of the most exciting natural-wine producers in the region.

Chanterêves (Tomoko Kuriyama and Guillaume Bott)

When not concentrating on Chanterêves, Tomoko Kuriyama manages the vineyard at Chandon de Briailles; Guillaume Bott is the winemaker at Domaine Simon Bize et Fils. They make ethereal yet structured wines in Savigny-lès-Beaune with minimal sulfur. Look for their Volnay and their first vintage of Aligoté, from their newly purchased vineyard.

Domaine Dandelion (Morgane Seuillot)

Seuillot has farmed all of her fruit herself organically since her first vintage in 2016. She grows Aligoté, Gamay, and Pinot Noir. She will use some sulfur if she needs it, she says, but so far, she hasn’t needed any. Look for her Pinot Noir and her Aligoté.

Domaine Sextant (Julien Altaber)

Natural wine pioneer Dominique Derain was Julien Altaber’s mentor, but now he is on his own; his domaine is located in the same village as Pierre Fenals’. Altaber grew up drinking natural wine and, he says, has never known anything else. His wines are on the wild side and made with no added sulfites. Look for his skin-contact Aligoté or his red Monthélie Premier Cru. experimental skin-contact Aligoté.

Maison en Belles Lies (Pierre Fenals)

Pierre Fenals chose his path late in life, past 50, purchasing this small biodynamic domaine in Saint-Aubin. He buys grapes as well as farms his own plots, working with no added sulfur. Look for his Maranges, his Corton Grand Cru, or his experimental skin-contact Aligoté.