Domaine de la Madone: introduction

We, Maryse and Jean Marc DESPRES, would like to welcome you to the DOMAINE DE LA MADONE.
The Domaine de la Madone is located on the renowned hillside of la Madone in FLEURIE. This hillside is often considered by connoisseurs to have the best growing conditions for wine in the area. It is blessed with exceptional amounts of sunshine, and the soil is composed of pink granite, highly suited to growing the Gamay grape variety. The domaine has been cultivated by the Despres family for five generations.

Today we are privileged to make the wine and sell it worldwide. The Domaine de la Madone covers an area of 13 hectares.

The grapevines are cultivated with carefully managed intervention to ensure the highest quality while respecting the environment. Great efforts are currently going into the management of the vines to improve the maturing of the grapes and reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides. Recently planted vines are pruned and trained to a shape which encourages this. The grapes are hand-picked by about thirty grapepickers, and rigorously sorted to keep only the ripest and healthiest.

Niagara Estate

This estate is located on the uplands of the Fleurie area. It is south-facing and therefore bathed in sunlight all day long. Taken over in 2005 by Arnaud Depres, the estate is nevertheless very old, having belonged previously to Philibert Despres, his great grandfather. Certain vines are therefore more than 80 years old.

Comprising 5.6 hectares in a single block, this estate is an expression of all the characteristics of the soil upon which it stands. A unique place, from which comes a unique wine, waiting to be discovered.

You can find information about the current vintage we are selling on the FLEURIE page.

Why Niagara ?

An entire year’s work can be wiped out in a few seconds by a hailstorm, sometimes destroying the entire crop. For this reason, in 1911, two inventors decided to erect enormous electric pylons in the Beaujolais area, as well as in other regions of France. Inevitably, the best known of these was the Eiffel Tower, which was similarly equipped.

These pylons were intended to prevent the formation of hailstones by neutralising the electricity held in thunder-clouds or if formed making them fall softly without force. The pylons allowed electric charges from the earth to dissipate in large quantities into the atmosphere, thus neutralising those in the clouds.

A considerable sum was invested in these pylons, which rose to an impressive (at that time) 40 metres in height, and so the system was named « NIAGARA » by its inventors. In the language of the times, the term Niagara indicated something grandiose by comparing itself with the famous waterfalls.

Having cost a great deal to erect, and having yielded poor results, the Niagara pylons were dismantled in 1921. The pylon is long gone from the estate, undoubtedly for the better, leaving only the name to describe the grandiose beauty of the site itself.


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