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2015 Juliénas “Beauvernay”

Domaine Chignard

2015 Juliénas “Beauvernay” Domaine Chignard - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Cédric Chignard welcomed Anthony Lynch and me last spring for our first visit to the Juliénas vineyard that he recently inherited from his maternal grandmother. The sight was striking: a very steep slope, just beneath the village church spire, littered with blue volcanic stones, and short, stubby, gobelet-pruned vines poking like witches’ fingers from the stony rubble. The chilly morning fog slowly lifted. Cédric was prepared with a tire-bouchon and a bottle of his Juliénas to taste the fruit of his terroir right then and there. It was remarkable to witness how much this bold, sinewy, flinty wine resembled the land from which it had sprouted. Textbook Juliénas: start here to understand this fabled cru. It combines the power and structure of Côte de Brouilly with the silkiness and perfume of the Côte de Py. –Dixon Brooke
Vintage: 2015
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 100% Gamay
Appellation: Juliénas
Country: France
Region: Beaujolais
Producer: Domaine Chignard
Winemaker: MIchel & Cédric Chignard
Vineyard: > 60 years
Soil: Granite
Aging: Aaged in old foudres (large oak barrels) for 13 months
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Production: 3000 cases
Alcohol: 13%

More from this Producer or Region

About Beaujolais

After years of the region’s reputation being co-opted by mass-produced Beaujolais Nouveau and the prevalence of industrial farming, the fortunes of vignerons from the Beaujolais have been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Much of this change is due to Jules Chauvet, a prominent Beaujolais producer who Kermit worked with in the 1980s and arguably the father of the natural wine movement, who advocated not using herbicides or pesticides in vineyards, not chaptalizing, fermenting with ambient yeasts, and vinifying without SO2. Chief among Chauvet’s followers was Marcel Lapierre and his three friends, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet—a group of Morgon producers who Kermit dubbed “the Gang of Four.” The espousal of Chauvet’s methods led to a dramatic change in quality of wines from Beaujolais and with that an increased interest and appreciation for the AOC crus, Villages, and regular Beaujolais bottlings.

The crus of Beaujolais are interpreted through the Gamay grape and each illuminate the variety of great terroirs available in the region. Distinguishing itself from the clay and limestone of Burgundy, Beaujolais soils are predominantly decomposed granite, with pockets of blue volcanic rock. The primary vinification method is carbonic maceration, where grapes are not crushed, but instead whole clusters are placed in a tank, thus allowing fermentation to take place inside each grape berry.

Much like the easy-going and friendly nature of many Beaujolais vignerons, the wines too have a lively and easy-drinking spirit. They are versatile at table but make particularly good matches with the local pork sausages and charcuterie. Though often considered a wine that must be drunk young, many of the top crus offer great aging potential.

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Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.


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