Even though it feels different this year, the holiday season is here! Among other things, that means Beaujolais in every flavor and today we'll start with a Cru that doesn't make the rounds as much as its famous neighbors like Moulin-a-Vent and Fleurie, but produces a really distinct and delicious expression of Gamay: Chenas.
Chenas is the smallest of the 10 Beaujolais Crus with just one square mile of vines planted on steep slopes made up of decomposed granite and sand. These steep slopes and the cooler northern climate result in more age-worthy, structured wines. And just like everywhere else in Beaujolais, a younger generation of winemakers passionate about working naturally is ushering in a new era for this easily missed, but noble appellation.
In Chenas, Paul-Henri Thillardon, with the help of his two brothers and their sister, is leading the charge. He's a disciple of Jean-Louis Dutraive and Yvon Metras and the wines really show it. Also, the 2018 vintage continues to impress us the more bottles we drink. Here's what we have to offer today:
Chenas "Les Blemonts" 2018 $30 This comes from a single 60 year old plot and spends 20 days whole cluster cool carbonic before it gets pressed off to a mix of cement tanks and different sized old barrels to age on the lees for 8 months before getting bottled unfiltered with just a touch of sulfur. Lean and high energy while still being really accessible with tart red plum fruit and crushed flowers and a decidedly mineral driven finish.
Chenas "Chassignol" 2018 $45 This is the Thillardon's most prized vineyard and sits right behind their cellar. It's a tiny plot of 80+ year old vines planted on a mix of pink granite and quartz that produce impossibly small amounts (15hl/ha for our fellow tech sheet nerds) of concentrated berries. This is made the same way as the Les Blemonts above- cool carbonic, then aged in cement and old barrel for 8 months with almost no sulfur added. Concentrated and tense with spiced red berry fruit and rose petals for days and a firm tannic structure that will reward you handsomely if you save this bottle for next Thanksgiving, but still shows off nicely this year if you give it a couple of hours in a decanter.
Get both for $60 and save 20%! This is a steal!
Speaking of Beaujolais and unique expressions of Gamay, we have a few great examples in this week's Eastern France Dozen for $145 and the Half Dozen for $75.
You can find all of that and more in our Curated Cases.
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