It’s a good thing that Eric Forest isn’t afraid of heights. Far up on the slopes of the rock of Vergisson, Forest is hard at work on his old vines, in perfect plots that have passed down from father to son for generations.
Apart from being one of the most picturesque nooks in this part of Burgundy, Vergisson is preternaturally perfect for growing Chardonnay. What makes this town special is the “Roche de Vergisson,” an ancient reef of chalk that rears up like the prow of a ship, scattering limestone down the hill where growers have most of their vines. Some of the best vineyards, such as Pouilly Fuissé and Macon Vergisson “La Roche,” sit in this chalky soil high on the slope, where they feast on the late afternoon sun.
Vergisson is also special because here families, not multinational corporations, make wine—artisans with an inspiring commitment to quality. Enter Eric Forest, the progeny of many generations of winemakers and coopers in this hamlet of Chardonnay. Forest isn’t satisfied with just upholding tradition, however—he’s looking to turn the white Burgundy world on its head.
Call it youthful exuberance, or budding genius. Since Forest’s first vintage in 2000 we’ve made a point to keep an eye on this young winemaker. Barely 30 years old, Forest apprenticed under Jean-Marie Guffens, the pioneer of Macônnais Chardonnay. With just a few small parcels producing a miniscule amount of wine each year, Forest has amazed us with his winemaking wisdom that far exceeds his years.