Claire & Fabien Chasselay – 2017

Update 20.6.2019(17.2.2019)billn

Tasted in Châtillon d’Azergues with Fabien Chasselay, 15 February 2019.

Claire et Fabien Chasselay
123/127 Chemin de la Roche
69380 Châtillon d’Azergues
Tel: +33 4 78 47 93 73

Fabien on 2018:
A year that was fine in the vines – some worry of mildew early on as we had rain every 3 days and it was warm but fortunately it never really developed. We worried about frost but the vines pushed, lots of leaves – in the end it was okay. A very sunny and also a very warm year – since 1902 the warmest and with very little rain – practically none from mid-June until the harvest – so a great end to the season. Harvesting started at the end of August in Brouilly – a long harvest though – finishing 17 Sept – mainly because of the volume – never had so much in organic viticulture – but it certainly helps us with the dwindling stocks. It was the same team as always but we also had some more vines – mainly in the crus – and a lot more grapes of-course. The wines are great but vinifications were not easy due to low acidities – we have to be vigilant – lots of testing. Some are very long fermenting.

Fabien on 2017:
2017 was much more complicated due to the frost, but like in 2018 we had another great second-half of the vintage and a little heatwave again – always nice to have the sun in the harvest. We lost 70% of reds and 80% of whites due to frost though – that was the south – but all the southern slopes got frost – if the vines are only slowly frosted you can avoid some damage – but the frost came really quick and there was clearly some thermal shock – the sun that arrived at 9 am and directly burnt the leaves. We had luck that we avoided hail in our parcels of the crus – but there was dryness that reduced the yield! So for the domaine it’s only 25% of a normal harvest – it’s the pits – how do we keep our customers happy? Fortunately we have the chance to make some earlier bottlings of 18s – particularly the Nouveau – but it was certainly needed.

The wines…

As last year, one of the best sets of wines tasted on my trip – bravo! And I bought three of them!

2018 Je t’aime, mais j’ai soif
VDF – Bottled 24 January. Organic gamay vines in Beaujolais – ‘a fruity wine to drink for when we don’t have the time to talk about terroir.’
A big, bright, fresh nose. Supple, tasty, layered, delicious, nice texture – you have everything – bravo, and I bought some!
2017 Brouilly Les Balloquets
On the west part of the appellation on a granite rose soil. Nice vines and an easy area to work – roughly 50 yo vines. 50% destemmed with elevage in demi-muids.
A lovely fresh, spiced width of aroma – this is very inviting. Drive, fresh, mouth-watering flavour – juicy, concentrated flavour. Drive and energy but with depth. Bravo – and I bought some of this too

2017 Morgon Corcelette
Bought grapes, relatively high on the hill.
A vibrant, floral, perfumed nose – let’s go! Muscular and fresh, energetic, layers of flavour but there’s muscle here too – excellent wine.

2017 Côte de Brouilly Chardignon
On the north side of the hill, but sometimes with more degrees of ripeness than the south – because the south sometimes have some block to the maturity! Elevage like the last – except the demi-muids replaced by barrels – and for longer time.
The nose is fresh but a little oaky – swirling liberates a fine and fresh perfume though. Vibrant energy, great depth and complexity – ooh this is really a great wine – too much oak for today (for me) but clearly a great wine in waiting!
2017 Beaujolais La Platière
Vines in Pierre Dorée near Tezay, on argillo calcaire – ‘it’s not possible to plant without breaking up the rock’ – Some clay and limestone here. Decimated by frost in 2017. Same elevage as the last wine.
Ooh – bright, wide but then deep almost a dark confiture but with clarity and freshness – it’s very inviting. Ooh direct, but concentrated silky and fresh a wine of sweeping flavour and very faint ouch of tannin – only a little oak visible right in the finish. Bravo I bought some of this too!!

2017 Côte de Brouilly l’Heronde
From the southern side of the hill, bought grapes – a contract since 2006.
Hmm very dark, maybe a touch of oak but it’s very light. Big, lots of volume but lots of fresh energy too. Yes a little oak, but only a little. Complex, weighty, simply excellent wine – possibly even a great wine – just give it a little time! The finish is exemplary…

And blanc:

2017 Beaujolais Eparcieux Blanc
Two parcels one high one low, but it was the lower that was lost to frost. Wax topped bottle.
Hmm, deep, waxy, acacia and honey – a nice freshness but it’s clearly got plenty of ripeness. A year of elevage no batonnage. Hmm – lovely volume on the palate – a wine of clarity and minerality – a lot of perfume – I might not guess chardonnay blind with the blend of perfume and oak. But a wine that is very drinkable and indeed, delicious!

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