Tasted with Jean Marc Monnet in Juliénas, 24 February 2017.
Domaine Châtaignier Durand
Tel: +33 4 74 04 45 46
This domaine is not the easiest to find if you are looking for ‘Châtaignier Durand’ – rather the older Domaine Monnet will help you to find them.
Jean-Marc Monnet began in 1981. This is a family domaine begun by his grandfather while working with another domaine in Juliénas. Jean Marc’s father continued the domaine and eventually Jean Marc too. The domaine straddles the southern Mâconnais and the north of Beaujolais, mixing Saint-Veran with Chiroubles and Juliénas, though the 9 hectare domaine is principally one of Juliénas.
France is the largest market for these wines, but about 40% is exported.
Jean Marc on 2016:
“I’m really surprised by the quality – we really have a good and typical cru Beaujolais with maturities that are really good – and all natural degrees! Of-course we had lots of storms, in Chiroubles it was so bad that about 50-60 hectares are now for sale – not abandoned – but yes, a number of vignerons quit – the morale is really on the floor. But there was no frost.”
Jean Marc on 2015:
“2015 a a great vintage. Dark colored, dark fruit. It was really easy in the vines and we were able to start harvesting on the 23rd August – but yields were low as they were very small grapes, so produced not a lot of juice. The wines, then, are very concentrated – really it was a half-harvest from a volume perspective. Everything was nice and came at the right moment in 2015 – I think with climate change we could see vintages like this more and more often – we are harvesting more often in August – my parents and grand-parents never saw this – except in 1947!”
Jean Marc explains “Juliénas is a long cru, mainly light soil on the hill – not a deep soil either, with stones but it’s not hard to work. We’re all raisonnée here, working the soil when not too steep.” The domaine’s plantations are 95% in goblet, but new plantations ‘will be different.’
Jean Marc, who is also a metayeur of Château Juliénas has various cuveries dotted on the hillsides of Juliénas – working with concrete tanks, no grills – ‘just feet.’
The vieilles vignes cuvée sees natural cork, others use DIAM5. A useful address, with nice wines…
“No harvest in 16! Two parcels one on the flat – quite rare in this appellation – and the other on a slope. In total half a hectare. No destemming, 8 day cuvaison, though it can be longer depending on the vintage. Pretty much 100% foudre elevage. This wine has no pigeage”
A nice deep nose of dark fruit, fresh fruit and a little spice. Nicely round in the mouth with really a good and growing intensity of flavour – wide in the mid-palate and with melting, fresh, flavour – a little muscled and tasty wine. A nice fresh burst of finishing flavour which is mouth-watering and a little herbed. Tasty wine.
2015 Julienas ‘Tradition’
The biggest cuvee of the domaine
Really more overt ripe fruit on this nose, but with fine freshness – not confiture style. Volume in the mouth, a little less overt freshness here, though still with good balance. More textural richness and perceived weight of flavour on the palate. Fresh and wide in the finish – a modest tannin and a persistent width of tasty finishing flavour. Yum again, but not facile – you should be patient!
The youngest vines here are 60, others up to possibly 90 years-old – 2 ha worth. Pigeage and foudres – 6-7 months in foudres.
A little deeper colour. A wide and ripe dark fruit – plenty of freshness and almost a suggestion of flowers too. Ooh, this is very nice in the mouth – not quite the volume of the last but super texture and almost becoming more long and direct in shape. Really a very fine shape in the mouth with super-modest texture from the tannin. Characteristic at this domaine, it seems, is the fresh wave of finishing flavour – simply excellent wine – bravo!
2011 Julienas ‘Tradition’
Deep dark fruit, lightly spiced. Great concentration, good width – a relaxation of the flavours and a little extra complexity – already showing well. Not quite the balance of the 2015 but compensated for by the growing complexity. Very yum!
2005 Juliénas Cuvée Vieilles-Vignes
‘Also a warm vintage with relatively little work in the vines.’
A really nice complexity on the nose – wide a faint sous-bois, and some spice – really attractive. Really a little more direct, some freshness, the start of that marsala complexity in the mid-palate. This is delicious though really a quiet wine in the finish, really modest here. Still a great drink!
2003 Juliénas Cuvée Vieilles-Vignes
Actually only one cuvee in this vintage, and it was 16.5°!
Yes a little alcohol, but also an attractive depth of fruit too. Super texture and good width. I do have an impression of the alcohol, but also this is a wine with a certain balance too – the flavour is a little kirsch-style, but with very good concentration of flavour – the tannin never harsh, but still present.