Ladies of Lyon at the top of their game

Ladies of Lyon at the top of their game

July 7 will be a big day for the best women footballers on the globe. That’s when the Women's World Cup final takes place in Lyon. If the hosts make it to the showdown for the silverware, it will be a home fixture for Wendie Renard. She is captain of both France and her club Olympique Lyonnais. Renowned for her calmness under pressure and towering presence on the field, she made a rare blunder when she scored an own goal in the group match against Norway. With that behind her, she will now be dreaming of lifting the trophy.

Should France match their male counterparts and become world champions, there will be plenty of fine local wines to enjoy during the celebrations, including a white from Meursault and a Mercurey red. However, an ideal choice would be Domaine Feuillat-Juillot, from a vineyard in Montagny-les-Buxy, about 90 minutes from Lyon. Appropriately, the wine is made by another local woman who is at the top of her game.

The domaine is based at the southern end of the Côte Chalonnaise, an area where the soil is ideal for growing the Chardonnay grape and the wine is widely regarded as offering some of Burgundy’s best value. Françoise Feuillat-Juillot took over the vineyard in 1989, the year before Wendie Renard was born. The winemaker had grown up on the family estate run by her father Michel, but rather than join the business, she decided to follow a different path and left home to study international business in Paris. Two years later she moved back and enrolled in a wine making course at nearby University of Dijon. After qualifying, she worked with a local producer, Maurice Bertrand.

Françoise now runs Domaine Feuillat-Juillot with her partner Philippe Bonne and in 2016 they were joined by her daughter Camille, who spent some time in Napa Valley before returning home. Françoise has increased production of the 14 hectare vineyard substantially and it now stands at 80,000 bottles a year. We like the fact that she places great emphasis on sustainable methods. She avoids all chemicals and herbicides, and picks the grapes by hand, striving for a wine that delivers what she describes as elegance and femininity. It offers a delicious combination of citrus fruits, honey and hazelnuts blended with a subtle vanilla oak.

Both Françoise Feuillat-Juillot and Wendie Renard have a busy time ahead. But they also have reason to be excited – the former as she continues to create top notch wine in one of France’s best-known areas, the latter as she hopes to lead her country to sporting success. And even if the French Women World Cup campaign ends in disappointment, a glass or two of wine from the Lyon area will surely ease the pain – we can recommend those made by Françoise Feuillat-Juillot.

Salut !