Wine: Domaine de la Bongran’s Naturalist Way

One of modern Macon’s founding families is the Thevenets. Before Leroy and Lafon bought lands in the region, the Thevenets challenged the way wines are produced in the area, trying to pursue their own thing, unlike mass producing of wines in Macon.

They focused their attention in late picking, biodynamic farming, and naturalist techniques.

In the 1980s, Jean Thevenet started with the domain of Bongran, with his side, Perriette Guillemot of Domaine Guillemot-Michel and Henri Goyard of Domain Roally.

In 1988, Jean’s Son Gauthier founded his very own domain, called Domaine Emilian Gillet. In the year 2000, Gauthier took over Domaine Roally. These three domains are vinified and located at Thevenet Domaine at Quintaine. 

All four domains, which include Guillemot-Michel are excluded from Vire-Clisse AOC because these domains contain more than 3g of residual sugar which is against the rules of Vire-Clisse.

In the year 2003, the heat caused all of Vire-Clisse’s wines to have residual sugar, because of that, they allowed domain Bongran, Guillemot-Michel, Emilian Gillet, and Roally in. However,  the domain retained their uniqueness since the sweetness of their wines is their own signature taste and is still on preservation today.

Jean Thevenet

Jean’s father, the founder of the domain, taught Jean the things he needed to know about growing vines and producing wines. In an interview, Jean Thevenet said that there are no schools for enology back in the 1970s. At the time, the term malo-lactic fermentation is alien to vignerons at the time, which is astonishing when compared to all the knowledge that is being passed today in terms of winemaking.

Eliminating SO2 is not at all of Jean Thevenet’s approach on naturalism. Being more practical and different in his winemaking is what makes his production a much more unique aura in taste and flavor.

A lot of natural winemakers can take points from him in approaching winemaking with naturalism since the wine that he makes is merely organic and more flavourful. In regards to SO2, he believes that it properly guards the fermentation process and takes out unwanted variable that leaves the wine undesirable. On the other hand, taking in a lot of SO2 is also bad since it tells the winemaker that something is wrong with the base material.

His point is to leave a bit of SO2, because it may have its disadvantages, it also has some benefits in processing.


The domain of Bongran uses natural ferments for around two years.  Though Jean Thevenet believes that one of the reasons for premature oxidation is using long wood aging, so, to take care of this, the ferments the wine mostly in the bottle. 

He releases the wine after 5+ years or so after the vintage to better age the wine. With its signature which is using residual sugar, they are continuing the tradition and taste of the domain. Examples of this are the bottles from the 1920s that shows 10g/L of residual sugar.

The slopes of Quintaine that was initially bought by his father in 1915 has an abundance of white marl soils and naturally produces more luxurious texture and retains cut. The vines these days are 40-60 years old which adds up to more character and feel of the wine, which makes the domain one of the best and essential estates in France.

The Wine’s Character

Domaine de la Bongran Vire Clesse Cuvee E.J. Thevenet, one of their best wines are produced from old vines and was fermented for a long time, adding to its unique taste and texture that will surely give an exquisite and fascinating aura.

A nice white wine, with its aura’s gracefulness and complexity, the white wine is aromatic with a scent of truffle mushrooms. The grapes themselves are harvested by hand and are subject to lighting for around 20 months. The sweetness comes from blackberries which give the residual sugar needed for its sweet aroma and taste.


Domaine de la Bongran is a family estate that is faithful to its roots and tradition. To this day, the wines’ taste and aroma are being kept by the family, a unique scent of sweetness and maturity, which makes the wines more elegant and refreshing.

The Thevenet has come from a long history of winemaking, and they’re one of the most important estates in France. Today, the wines they are making are still in the market, proving that they are growing strong in the business of winemaking and still giving delight to the consumer all around the world.

The rich taste and aroma of the wines they give are remarkable and fascinating. With their production still going strong and enduring, retaining the family’s signature taste and process of winemaking, the will still be surely making incredible wines in the future.

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