Jean-Michel Stephan makes some of our favorite natural wines in the northern Rhône Valley – savory, unctuous and even savage in their intensity! These wines ooze black olive saucisson and concentrated fruit. Jean-Michel Stephan’s 3.5-hectare estate is located about 25 miles south of Lyon in the Côte Blonde, the southernmost terroir of Côte-Rotie (the “roasted slope”). Stephan’s vineyards sit on sunny, steep slopes marked with granitic and gneiss soils. Beaujolais has played a vital role in shaping Stephan’s approach and philosophy. After attending viticultural school in Belleville-en-Beaujolais, he met and became an adherent of Jules Chauvet, the father of the French natural wine movement. Returning to Côte-Rotie, Stephan worked with his famous neighbor, Marcel Guigal, before taking over his family’s vineyards in 1991. All of Stephan’s wines are made with carbonic maceration in stainless steel tank and a minimum of 12 month elevage—no manipulations, chemical or mechanical, before bottling. As of the 2017 vintage, Jean-Michel’s son, Romain, officially joined the family enterprise, and the winery has been renamed Maison Stephan.