Born in Nigeria, raised in England and with business training in the world of petrochemicals – it’s fair to say that Jonathan Maltus doesn’t have the profile that you might expect for a‘vigneron’ in Bordeaux. But a man with a character as big and bold as his wines doesn’t need a category to fit into.
When searching for a place in France to fulfil his passion, Saint-Émilion, with its medieval town, centuries of tradition and multi-tier wine classification, couldn’t offer a more exciting opportunity for someone who loves breaking the rules as much as he loves making wine.
Once an unknown outsider criticised for his untraditional methods, 15 years later Jonathan became the first Englishman to receive a 100 Parker score and an Order of the British Empire for Winemaking from the Queen. Wine-lovers across the world started trading in their bottles of classic Bordeaux for something a lot more ‘Rock and Roll’.
And with the opening of Le Dôme’s new winery, the show goes on – louder than ever before.
Driven by a thirst for a style of wine more appealing to modern consumers and with no boundaries other than his own vision, Jonathan Maltus found his place in the ‘garagiste’ movement which was giving a new awakening to Saint-Emilion at the time. By realising and then uncovering the potential of the prized vineyard that is ‘Le Dôme’, Jonathan created what no-one else dared to imagine.
And now, with every vintage consistently equalling and frequently exceeding chateaux with hundreds of years of experience, Le Dôme has joined the club of the most sought-after wines in the region and Jonathan’s once ‘avant-gardiste’ techniques are being adopted across the whole of Bordeaux and beyond.
Jonathan was one of the key players of the ‘Garagiste’ movement of the 1990s, when a small band of elite winemakers proved that if you had a good enough taste for terroir you didn’t need a 17th century chateau to make history in Bordeaux.
His philosophy centered around ‘single-vineyard’ wines: micro-cuvées that express in their purest form the terroir from which they are made. And after years of getting his boots dirty in collaboration with oenologists Neil Whyte, Gilles Pauquet and Thomas Duclos, as well as viticulturist Olivier Darcy, with Le Dôme he believes that the secret to true success in wine has its roots deep below the ground. The winemaking techniques are now more down-to-earth than ever, letting Mother Nature express herself in all her glory.