Once upon a time in the picturesque land of Beaujolais, a lone traveling wine salesman caught a vision for making delectable Gamay. After much research, Jean Pelissier, brother-in-law to Henry Fessy, decided on a plateau called Bel Air, in the heart of ‘Le Paradis’ of Brouilly. He bought his vineyards and estate near the end of the 19th century, just after the Phylloxera crisis when vines were affordable even for the average dreamer.
Henry Fessy, who had founded Maison Henry Fessy as a negociant business in 1888, joined Jean near the turn of the century to realize the dream of crafting some of the region’s finest wines. Henry was known for his chivalry and gentlemanliness and he quickly earned the respect and admiration of his fellow vintners during the aftermath of the First World War.
In 1928, thanks to his relationships, Henry was able to found the Bel Air Cooperative Cellar; he would remain its president for over 40 years. Then in 1947, the Fessy torch was passed to Henry’s eldest son, Georges, who assumed leadership of the winery alongside his wife Catherine and his two sons, Henry and Serges. Between the vineyard and the cellars, the Fessys kept quite busy, especially with the addition of a significant merchant business in the early eighties. The portfolio of domaine and nécogiant wines had thus become quite robust.
To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the family winery in 1988, Serges and Henry, who were both known at the time not only for their ‘bon vivant’ approach to life but also their generous French mustaches, decided to immortalize this facial trademark as the official Henry Fessy winery logo. The famous mustache represents an appreciation for ‘le bon vieux temps’, the good old days in France when a baguette, du fromage and a good glass of Beaujolais were everyday bliss for the Burgundians.
Maison Henry Fessy today counts 75 acres under vine scattered through- out the Beaujolais Cru and Villages appellations, 98% of which is planted with Gamay. The winery was entirely redesigned in 2003 and was subsequently purchased by Maison Louis Latour in the winter of 2008. Henry Fessy’s wines are exported to 35 countries and are among the best-selling Beaujolas Crus in Paris, the City of Lights! We hope you enjoy the tasting.