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2016 Juliénas “Beauvernay”

Domaine Chignard

2016 Juliénas “Beauvernay” Domaine Chignard - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

Cédric Chignard’s seventy-year-old vines in the Beauvernay vineyard of Juliénas enjoy excellent exposure at high elevation, constantly whipped by cool winds. The soil here is not the granite that dominates the crus of Beaujolais, but a hard blue stone of volcanic origin also found on the Côte de Brouilly. Cédric fermented the wine naturally, aged it in foudres, and bottled without filtration, so this peculiar and unique terroir shines through in full earnest: lean, breezy, and crunchy—quite drinkably so, I might add.

Anthony Lynch

$25.00
Vintage: 2016
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: Aged in old foudres (large oak barrels) for 13 months
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Production: 3000 cases
Alcohol: 12.5%

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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For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.

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