Verre de Terre

Saint-Maurice-ès-Allier, Auvergne

From a tiny basement in the village of Saint-Maurice-ès-Allier in Auvergne, Benoit Rosenberger has made a name for himself as one to watch in this most exciting of regions.

Born in Sancerre, Benoit worked as a computer programmer and at a large Champagne house, an experience that left him disenchanted with wine. However, a move to the Auvergne and chance meetings with local vignerons such as good friend Frédéric Gounan convinced him to start over again, this time doing things his own way, the only way that felt right.

He farms just three hectares of Gamay d’Auvergne from 50-80 year old vines split across small parcels on rolling hills some 350-500 metres above sea level. The vines are tended by hand and Benoit eschews the use of chemicals, using teas and infusions such as dandelion, nettle and pine to care for the plants. The soil is predominantly basalt, which along with volcanic sand and granite, makes for lithe, fragrant wines that shimmer with minerals.

In the cellar, Benoit is uncompromising in his approach. There are no additions made at any stage and the wines are only bottled after a proper élevage, something he feels is vital when making wines in this way.