M. Chapoutier is one of the Rhône’s most famous and established producers. The company produces an incredibly broad range of wines at every price point – from everyday Côtes du Rhône to its top single-vineyard cuvées, both from estate-owned vineyards and purchased fruit. The producer’s name is inextricably tied to the hill of Hermitage, from where its most coveted single-vineyard wines hail. Chapoutier owns a remarkable 25% of the appellation, and its head office is in nearby Tain l’Hermitage.
The company was founded in 1808 (originally by the Calvet family, of Bordeaux), with the Chapoutiers involved from the end of the 19th century. It was current owner Michel Chapoutier, however, who established the business as it is known today. In 1990, at the age of just 26, he bought the company from his grandfather so that he could have complete control of production. He started purchasing swathes of vineyard and pioneered biodynamic farming from 1991. He was among the first to focus on single-site wines and championed a new style with low yields and ageing in new French oak. Since 1996, all the Chapoutier labels have also featured key information in braille – in tribute to Maurice Monier de la Sizeranne Chapoutier, a family member who created the first abridged version of the tactile writing system for the visually impaired.
As well as owning vines the length and breadth of the Rhône, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape to Condrieu, the company has since expanded beyond its home, with vineyards in Australia, Portugal, Spain, and elsewhere in France, including Beaujolais and Provence. Michel Chapoutier’s children Maxime and Mathilde are now also involved in the business.