Domaine de la Croix de Mission
Philippe Joly et Lilian Croiset
A handover but also a moment of sharing
History of the Estate
How was your Estate founded? Who founded it? What motivated you?
Philippe Joly – The Domaine was founded in 1995, due to my enthusiasm for wine. I wanted to grasp how to cultivate vines and create wine. I had a few vines at home in Ay-sur-Moselle. I then bought some land in Marange-Silvange as the town had been registered in the Vin de Qualité Supérieure area. I started with 0.2 acres and wanted to create a quality product. I then planted pinot gris vines on this plot with my son Alexandre, and our first harvest took place in 2000. Since then, I have gradually extended the Estate to reach a total of 5 acres of vines.
I cleared a lot of land and dug up tree stumps on my own at the beginning. I even spent more than three days digging up a very big tree stump.
Lilian Croiset – As chance would have it, during the Vine Festival in Marange-Silvange, I talked about how I wanted to take over an Estate to Mr. Maujard, who, thanks to the grapevine, then arranged a meeting with Mr. Joly for me. We called each other in 2018 and met up in 2019. I already wanted to get an overview of the Estate as a whole, a good relationship was then born. From that point on, we started working together. The handover is supposed to take place in 2022.
PJ - Lilian will then be able to fly with his own wings, but I will always be there for him if he needs me, I will be there to lend a hand and give some advice. In any case, I know it will be difficult for me, but I am going to take a step back from major responsibilities.
What training do you have?
PJ - I worked as an SNCF railways agent, as soon as I left work, I would head out to the vines to work on them, needless to say I spent many a weekend and holiday on them.
In terms of training, I did a professional diploma in Viticulture-Oenology in Verdilly, next to Chateau-Thierry in 1992-93.
LC - I changed career paths in 2014 and did a Farm management diploma in Beaune (Burgundy). I am currently a real estate broker, and look after the vines. Being an independent businessman means I have more flexibility when it comes to how I organise my time.
Wine tourism services
What wine tourism services do you provide on the Estate?
PJ - Our customers book appointments to taste and buy wine. We also offer short walks in the vines weather permitting.
What future plans do you have for your Estate?
PJ - There’s the handover to Mr. Croiset that’s coming up and I would like to keep a small piece of a plot to plant some old, almost forgotten grape varieties, like auxerrois gris, to make some mini vintages and experiments. I would really like to do this, but I do not know if I will go through with it. Retirement does not mean I am going to forget my vines, nor lose my knack.
What is your Estate’s surface area and geographic situation?
PJ - We have 4.94 acres in Marange-Silvange with a south/southeast facing slope at an altitude ranging from 260m to 320m.
Could you tell us about your production? What sort of products do you sell on the Estate? How much do you produce, how many bottles?
PJ - We produce from 5,000 to 6,000 bottles a year. The first year I made 300 bottles and organised a sale in the vineyards during the Vine festival. I managed to sell everything.
Today, we have quite a few wines and they each have their own story.
We make four white PDO vintages: auxerrois, heart of auxerrois, Cuvée André, as a tribute to my dad (an auxerrois matured in oak barrels), a pinot gris, and an auxerrois - pinot gris blend matured in oak barrels called “Les Barriques de Blanche”, as a tribute to my wife’s grandmother.
We also make other wines such as our Pink Angel pinot noir rosé, named after the City of Angels (anges) (Marange-Silvange).
There is “Les tonneaux de Thérèse,” after my grandmother, which is a pinot noir vinified as red wine and matured in oak barrels. That way we also pay a tribute to our two grandmothers!
Our autumn harvest wine is picked very late in the season and is called “Délices des anges.”
Our “Bulles des anges” (angel bubbles), named after my mother Christiane, is made according to an ancestral Vin de France method, where we stop the vat fermentation process early to let it finish fermenting in the bottles. This produces a sparkling yet natural white wine, with no added sugar.
We also produce spirits and liqueurs, such as our golden or rosé Marc-en-joie which is a blend of grape marc schnapps and grape juice, grape marc schnapps with 48% alcohol. We also produce plain and amber Cristal which is matured in oak barrels with marc brought down to 38% alcohol with cane sugar and vanilla. Or our Marc arrangé (with spices) and wine jelly. We really like to have fun and try out different things made from grapes and wine by-products.
So, to recap, we produce 6 PDO wines (4 whites, 1 rosé and 1 red), 2 Vins de France (1 sweet and 1 sparkling), 2 liqueurs and 4 schnapps.
How would you describe the three wines you have selected?
PJ - The first is “Les barriques de Blanche,” which is a blend of auxerrois and pinot gris. It is a well-balanced wine with a fine structure that can be served with fish and poultry dishes with sauces.
The second is “Pink Angel,” a pinot noir rosé made from 100% pinot noir grapes that have only been macerated for 24 hours to give it an attractive and intense robe with aromas of raspberries and redcurrants. This is a very fine wine for the summer, which goes well with cold meat dishes and barbecues.
The third is “Les Tonneaux de Thérèse,” a red pinot noir matured in oak barrels for 6 months. It has a very intense robe with purplish tints, a fine gutsy structure and lasting taste which goes well with red meat or game.
Estate fundation: 1995
Planting of the vines: Marange-Silvange. Exposition Sud / Sud-Est.
Surface: 2 ha
Production: 6 000 btls/year.
Grape varieties: Auxerrois, Pinot Gris et Noir.
Other activities: -
Domaine Croix de Mission - Les barriques de Blanche
A blend of auxerrois and pinot gris. It is a well-balanced wine with a fine structure that can be served with fish and poultry dishes with sauces.
Domaine Croix de Mission - Pink Angel
A pinot noir rosé made from 100% pinot noir grapes that have only been macerated for 24 hours to give it an attractive and intense robe with aromas of raspberries and redcurrants. This is a very fine wine for the summer, which goes well with cold meat dishes and barbecues.
Domaine Croix de Mission - Tonneaux de Thérèse
A red pinot noir matured in oak barrels for 6 months. It has a very intense robe with purplish tints, a fine gutsy structure and lasting taste which goes well with red meat or game.