Tasted in Odenas with Nicolas Meilly, 06 February 2019.
Château de La Chaize
Tel: +33 04 74 03 41 05
ALL CHANGE – Again!
The new ownership is well underway with multiple projects to update cellars, cuverie, château and vineyards all concurrently underway. It was also a surprise to see Nicolas – you may remember his face as he was previously with Labruyère in Moulin à Vent, but has taken over the rôle of commercial director from Cécile who I met last year.
Nicolas has been here just for 2 months so his descriptions of the 2017 and 2018 vintage at this domaine are cursory, but he still offers an insight into what’s going on at t the domaine:
2018 here has quantity and quality – like most of Beaujolais in this vintage – we produced in the range of 40-45 hl/ha. But for Château de la Chaize 2019 is an important starting point in terms of conversion to organic working – for us it’s the first year of our certification process. 55 of the domaine’s 130 are currently in production – it was 100 in production when the new owners arrived. New is the acquisition of the old exploitation of Fernand Verpoix, who died early last year, from 2019. The owners are also on the lookout for 20 hectares of white, targeting 150 hectares for the domaine – there is currently (in 2018) some Pouilly-Fuissé – but from bought grapes – so they are still looking.
Nicolas describes the domaine’s 2017s in terms of blend of 2015 and 2016 – with a rendement around 38-40 hl/ha. This is really the first ‘wine vintage’ of the new team here at the domaine as they arrived mid-summer 2017. 2018 will be the first vintage where all the pruning etcetera was also done by the team. Following soil analysis it seems that their terroirs contain a very ‘poor’ level of copper – probably one of the few in wine-making regions – still, that’s good for the worms! One-third of the cellar is now renovated with new foudres – the largest of 90 hl/ha – the price of which would be equivalent to a new family car – and not a cheap one!
A great range, now with consistent labelling and some additional climat bottlings rather than ‘blends.’
2017 Brouilly Rien de Trop
The ‘entry wine’ here at Chaize today. Target is restaurants-brasseries, mainly semi-carbonic, looking to keep the crunchy fruit of Brouilly.
Lots of colour. Dark, ripe fruit but retaining freshness and energy. Round but really very supple – a wine that dances over the palate – great ‘entry’ wine. The texture and easy, deliciousness make this a winner!
Of-course the monopoly here – the hillside behind château!
Dark fruit on this narrower, still fresh, faintly spiced nose. More concentrated but more width too – there is a more overt concentration here but not with weight, it’s carried beautifully by the acidity. Delicate and complex finishing, small waves. A very different character – but bravo!
2017 Brouilly Combiliaty
The first time separately bottled – only 2-3 weeks in bottle. ‘An area normally more virile and tannic.’
Narrow again but deep with dark fruit and again a small touch of aromatic spice. Volume, more structural, framed with a modest tannin though with practically no grain. A gorgeous finish as the fresh flavour leaches through the structure. To wait for but I simply adore this finish.
Also the first time separated from the blend. It’s the same climat as produced at Château Thivin
Lots of colour. Deep, almost a floral aspect to the higher aromas – the first of these. Mouth-filling, supple, but concentrated and intense, layered wine with fresh waves of finishing flavour. Touched by tannin but hardly astringent. Ooh, that’s so good, a little mineral great finishing! Bravo!