Apprenticed 7 years with Georges Descombes, and 5 years with Jean Foillard.
Took over grandparent's 60- to 150-year-old vineyard and released his first vintage in 2013. One of the most talented upcoming vignerons in Beaujolais.
Our bush doctor (inquire).
Anthony Thévenet has always worked in vineyards thanks to his grandfather who instilled a love of nature in him. This love led Thévenet to complete a viticulture degree followed by an apprenticeship with one of the seminal figures of French natural wine, George Descombes. Thévenet worked seven years with Descombes in Brouilly Morgon learning how to foster the microbial health of the soil instead of working with chemicals compounds. But perhaps the most important skill he came away with was how to observe nature. “The basis of natural wine is observation,” says Thévenet.
After Anthony’s education under Descombes, he decided to try work with another giant of the natural wine world. In 2012, he began with Jean Foillard spending most of his time in the vineyard but he also worked in the cellar during the first months of vinification.
While working with Foillard, a new chapter began in Thévenet’s story. Anthony took over his grandfather’s three hectare vineyard in Morgon. In 2013, he released his first vintage with this little parcel and obviously the wine was all natural. Then in 2015, he took over 0.7 ha of Beaujolais-Villages and 2.5 ha of Chénas in 2017. With such a large project to focus on, he left Foillard in August to devote himself his own vineyards.
Anthony lives in a farm surrounded by sheep, pigs, hens, and gardens. What he loves above all is the spirit of back-to-basics, away from the interference of society’s evolution and at a comfortable distance from the business of the wine industry. This is his approach to the lifestyle, but Anthony seeks the terroir first when it comes to the wine. He wants his wines to have flavor, fruit, pleasure; he doesn’t pursue large yields. According to Thévenet, the best fruit is collected under 40hl/ha, “and after that we have less the terroir’s print.” He is looking seeking vin de soif: a light-styled, fruit-driven wine that you can drink at any hour. He wants people to want to finish his bottle after opening it.
Anthony puts in a lot of effort when he’s in the vineyard especially while using the pickax by hand instead of a machine tiller or tractor. Ground cover in alternating rows are turned over and the other lanes grow wild. From mid-July on, he lets all the grass and herbs grow till harvest to add more competition for water and producer a richer fruit. Obviously weed killers and any other type of chemicals are banned from Thévenet’s vineyards. The only treatments that he sprays are copper for mildew and sulfur for oidium. Anthony prefers to spray several times with small doses instead of fewer times with larger doses. Typically this comes to an average 600g of copper per hectare, which is significantly lower than other growers when one understands that “organic” producers can use up to 3 kilos.
The wines ferment in a mix of old wood and concrete tank, and—according to the vintage— the fruit goes through 10 to 25 days of carbonic maceration. They are always are made without correction, ferment with indigenous yeasts and without pump-overs, and are bottled unfined and unfiltered.