Frédéric Cossard came to winemaking after a career in the dairy industry and a decade working as a wine merchant. His initial fascination with wine was, however, developed at a very young age during time spent with his grandfather who produced wine for the family from a tiny parcel of land in the village of Nolay, not far from Saint Romain.
In 1996 when he began, Cossard rented premises in Saint Romain and today he remains in the village working in a cellar he has purchased and renovated. His holdings cover 10 hectares of vines across several appellations including Volnay and Pommard, which were added to the estate in 2010.
Described variously as larger than life, enigmatic and passionate, Cossard’s approach to winemaking is unwavering in the pursuit of quality and this has not gone unnoticed with his wines regularly described as elegant and expressive. The writer and critic Jamie Goode described the 2007 Puligny-Montrachet ‘Les Rechaux” as a beautiful wine with a “Dense, fresh, lively mineralic nose. Bold and rich with beautiful aromatics. The palate is dense yet really elegant.”
Adhering to a strictly sustainable agricultural ethos, Cossard uses homeopathic tinctures to manage pests and fungal disease in the vineyard in addition to boosting the health of the vines with a compost of vine clippings, grape marc and cow manure. In the winery, hygiene is rigorously maintained, much of this having been learned from Cossard’s years in the dairy industry.
A hallmark of the Cossard style is extended fermentation periods for both red and whites, with white wine fermentation often lasting six months. All fermentation is spontaneous and continues without temperature control. The wines are left to sit on their lees until the following September and do not undergo racking or stirring during that time. The wine is then bottled unfined and unfiltered and sulfur dioxide is eschewed in all aspects of winemaking.
Cossard releases two labels – one labelled eponymously, the other as Domaine de Chassorney. The former is produced from fruit sourced through his negociant business, which provides access to some of the finest sites in Burgundy. For these wines, Cossard works closely with each grower, spending time in each vineyard ensuring the vines are managed to his precise standards. The result is truly captivating wines, and in the words of Jancis Robinson MW in reference to the 2007 Frédéric Cossard Volnay, they are wines of “impressive purity”.
The second label, Domaine de Chassorney is equally well received and is produced from vineyards Cossard manages directly. In the ‘Bedeau’, Domaine de Chassorney Bourgogne Pinot Noir, writer Jamie Goode finds a wine that “… is a beautifully expressive, pure, alive expression of Pinot Noir that belies its humble appellation. … The palate has lovely freshness, with good acidity and spicy, peppery, sappy notes countering the sweet cherry fruit beautifully. Elegance, freshness and definition are the hallmarks here: there's a hint of rusticity, but it's not detracting at all from the appeal of this lovely wine.”
In completing his review of the 2005 Bedeau, Jamie Goode perhaps captures that which is most appreciated from a glass of wine – “I think this is utterly beautiful, and I could drink a lot of it.”