Joe Dressner, founder of the wine importing company Louis Dressner Selections, died this past weekend. He was 60 years old.
Dressner was an original that always shot from the hip and was never afraid to speak his mind. He and his wife, Denyse, started Louis Dressner Selections with the philosophy of importing wines from small family estates that worked organically, with indigenous yeasts, no filtration and minimal intervention. They were ahead of the "natural wine" curve from the beginning.
One of the best sources of white Burgundy values is the Mâconnais. In the past 10 or so years, it has been a hotbed of activity, with an upsurge in quality from young growers and merchants. In addition, producers from the Côte d'Or—notably Dominique Lafon, Domaine Leflaive and Louis Jadot—have invested there.
I spent a day earlier this year with a group of growers called Les Artisans Vignerons de Bourgogne du Sud. The 21 members grow grapes throughout the Mâconnais from a mix of different terroirs. They share a common goal of exploiting their vineyards in a way that best transmits an expression of place. As a group, they have old vines and farm for low yields. Some, but not all are certified organic or biodynamic.