On a small dirt track off the main D974 road in Gevrey-Chambertin, a small cellar lies hidden just behind a supermarket. Whilst this tarp covered, garage-like cellar is far from glamorous, it is where Mark Haisma, former winemaker at Yarra Yering in Yarra Valley, Australia, has been crafting wines of great excellence since 2007. In very short time he has already earned great praise from prominent wine critics such as Tim Atkin MW, listing him as one of “Top 25 Burgundy Producers to Watch”.
Breaking the mold in a region known for its notoriously high vineyard prices and inherently difficult entry for a new winemaker with no vineyard or winery to inherit, Haisma rented space in a small Gevrey-Chambertin cellar belonging to his friend Philippe Naigeon. Thus, his micro-negociant winery was born, sourcing fruit from quality growers whom he had developed good relationships with, “old boys who sell mainly to the négociants” as he puts it.
Appellations he produces include Saint-Romain and Santenay for his whites, whilst in his reds he offers Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-St-Georges and Volnay. Whilst he recently lost his only Grand Cru in Bonnes-Mares due to his grower having sold the plot, he still retains Premier Crus in Morey-St-Denis Les Chaffots as well as Pommard Clos les Arvelets.
His style is centered around approachability and drinkability at younger ages. “My winemaking has always sought to capture freshness and play on the aromatics of the grapes I work with. Power, structure, indefinite ageing, black colours are not my thing”, Haisma explains. And this style has certainly captured the heart of Jancis Robinson MW who describes him as having “struck gold” and that his wines “have an excellent balance between fruit, expression and refreshment without being in any way wimpish”. To add to the compliments, she also rated his Gevrey Chambertin 2012 as one of eight “overperformers in 2012”.
The success and almost cult-following of his wines has allowed him to move out of his humble dwellings in Gevrey-Chambertin to build a much more comfortable and bespoke winery, affectionately named “Le Shed” by his mother, which was completed in 2016.
Overall, Mark is a passionate winemaker who thrives in challenges. He found success in his move from a stable career in the Yarra Valley to not only a tougher winemaking climate, but also a tougher business in Burgundy. His 12,000 bottle annual production is sold out each year meaning allocations are hard to come by, so we are fortunate to be able to get our hands on a variety of appellations.
Spreading his wings and moving further afield, he has produced three wines using fruit sourced from the Rhone Valley, Viognier, Shiraz and Grenache, which he has labelled as Vin de France. He has also produced a Cornas, as well as launched a new project named Dagan Clan, making three wines in Romania with a friend. It is clear that Haisma delivers on his words when he says “I pride myself in making interesting booze and getting it delivered to people for as fair a price as I can”.