Tasted in Chénas with Paul-Henri Thillardon, 11 February 2019.
Domaine Thillardon, Paul-Henri & Charles
+33 6 07 76 00 91
Paul-Henri on 2018:
“We’ll make our first bottling in April – the first half of the wines – the rest probably in June. we managed to produce 40 hl/ha so I’m very happy with that. It wasn’t an easy vintage in the vines as there was a lot of rain until about mid-June – so that made life quite complicated. If it had rained longer the maladies would certainly have been problematic – there were plenty of storms – but then it was dry and we had an easier life!”
Paul-Henri on 2017:
“A very low volume – I would say a catastrophe because of the hail – not once but twice but one was a big one! We lost over 80% of the harvest. Fortunately we could buy some grapes – though it wasn’t possible to buy organic Chénas grapes but we managed to buy Beaujolais. Just to show how bad it was, we had 10 people picking but 16 doing the triage!
“With 90% hail I’ve really got to be happy with the wines, because they are all still wines of pleasure.”
All Chénas, all different, all delicious – a super address – if you can find some in 2017, because it’s a great vintage here for quality but not quantity!
All these cuvées were bottled in May:
Whole clusters, carbonic but not much maceration for the grapes from St.Amour and Leynes, amongst others, including a little from the south.
A modest but invitingly fruity nose. Supple, fresh, nice depth of both concentration and texture but always fresh. Ooh – suauve, round, delicious wine. Bravo Beaujolais.
2017 Chénas, Les Carrières
The first vines from 2008. From the sedimentary section towards La Chapelle de Guinchay. On silex here. 50% elevage in old wood.
A bright and wide nose – very red-fruited and attractive again. Full, round – a little more structure and volume in the shape – nice clarity – and a wine that just opens wider and wider – very persistent again superbly delicious.
2017 Chénas Les Blémonts
1 ha of vines here, on clay and some manganese here
There’s extra colour. Bright and fresh – a more crunchy red fruit on this nose – extra freshness. Wider – concentrated, great texture but there is still some tannin waiting at the base. Long, long… faintly saline. Another excellent wine.
Assembly of Carrières and 3 others, ‘It’s slightly different quantities of each year – the aim is the vibration.’ 50% granitic terroir in this.
A softer fruit, some florals too. Fresh, great line – more drive and energy here. Lovely intensity of finishing flavour. Ooh three wines, three very different styles but all Chénas, all with the same vinification.
Old vines of 95 years behind the domaine – the only vines not hailed for this domaine in 2017
Sweet and salt, red fruited. This is quite large in the mouth, complex – the most complex of all, nice depth of flavour and a modest base of ripe tannin. A lovely grain of complexity that reminds of Vosne.
2017 Moulin à Vent
Just over the Chénas hill behind the domaine. Les Michelons and Pinchons but almost all was lost – 6 hl/ha.
A brighter nose – plenty of freshness but at the same time depth – some complexity of spice here too. Fresh in the mouth, faint gas, a drag to the texture from tannin. Wide, wide finishing wave of flavour – a wine that starts direct but gets wider and wider. This is surely a wine to be patient for – or carafe. Delicious though! ‘If you carafe – don’t wait for more than a couple of hours to drink – there’s no sulfur!’ says Paul-Henri.
8 hl/ha. Adapting to the vintage a crémant bottle and crown-cap as there’s 5g residual sugar in this – just in case it decides to ferment in the future! All wood – a mix of barrels and large formats. 14°, no sulfur, analytically very modest acidity – but you would think otherwise to drink!
A little cloudy. A deep nose, adding width. Still a perceptible tightness. Fresh, lively, some petillance – as befits the bottle – supple, layered but tasty wine. Young, fresh but still with an intensity an attitude – yes! Bravo – particular but oh-so moreish. I loved this.