Tasted in Chénas with Nicolas Hirsch, 17 February 2021.
Nicolas on 2020:
“2020 was quite an easy year in the vines but with a lower volume of wine due to the dryness of the summer. The fermentations went well, in fact, they were quite fast to finish, the colours extracted quite quickly too. The 20s will be bottled in about 1 month.”
Nicolas on 2019:
“It started well; end of March, no frost here. Because of the cold though the flowering was a little late but June and July were really hot with a couple of heatwaves – it was very dry, I stopped working the soil and anyway it was almost too hot for the weeds. I lost half the leaves in some parcels – the end of July was worrying – but the rain that came in August really helped save our vintage – there were no special extremes, like frost or hail, so we made our target of 45 hl/ha – the same as in 2018.”
Some top Chénas in display at this domaine – their Sylvaaner (blanc) is also worth a special search…
All the 2019 wines are bottled, as usual, some of the cuvées are already sold out!
This in tank for a March bottling – whole clusters, no added yeast, unfiltered.
Clear, vibrantly red-fruited and faintly perfumed. That’s very silky, layered with red fruit, wide waves of finishing flavour too. There’s richness but also width to this flavour. That’s super.
A narrower but deeper nose – also red-fruited but a little darker colour. Extra width and more mouth-filling. A touch more energy and intensity too. Finishing with a little coating of fine-grained tannin. Long and clean in the finish. This is a great Chénas…
2020 Moulin à Vent
Started with destemming and barrel elevage but has stopped with destemming – there is still some barrel elevage though. From Chassignol. Also, a March bottling planned but Nicolas will wait longer if he thinks it’s needed…
Here there’s aromatic depth and width – the high-tones starting more guarded but growing. Nicely mouth-filling – an extra edge to the flavour here, to the leading edge of the fruit but with depth and richness to the flavour too. Wide, sinuous, long with a nice finishing concentration. Some small impression of the barrel in the finishing flavour. Lovely wine…
Bottled last March:
Good colour – not too deep. The nose starts tighter, but with air opens with a lovely floral perfume and adds a mineral depth too. Round, a fine framing of the flavour with tannin – but no grain, just a modest dryness – wide, fine concentration, this is a lovely wine. Insistent but never aggressive flavour. Carrying a little of the perfume in the flavours too. Long and fine – a great wine again!
2019 Chénas Les Brureaux
‘A well-known terroir in Chénas and of-course it surrounds our house – lots of old vines and made in the same manner as the MAV’ This wine destemmed and with a longer cuvaison and elevage until September. Eventually, Nicolas is hoping to keep this back for about a year in bottle before commercializing…
Plenty of colour – the nose is wide and airy – barrels are visible here. More direct, more tannin – again no grain -the flavours are deep and muscled again showing plenty of barrel references. A wine that’s built to age with a nice tension to the flavour – so I would not hesitate in waiting for 2-3 years before returning – the barrel should be largely gone at this stage. That’s a super finish though. Excellent wine again.
More perfume and more spice, still a little of the barrel contributing. Mouth-filling but at the start with a more direct impression to the flavour – slowly filling all the places in your mouth, perfumed fruit of impressive depth. Oh, that’s a great wine – still be patient, but bravo!
Chenas, Sylvaner, bottled August the following year. The terraces are granitic but it’s a cool place – see finishing images – almost north-facing. The vines are still young so sometimes harvested before or after the reds – higher or lower volumes and degrees – but Nicolas says that vines are starting to take on their proper form.
A width of concentrated aroma – a certain richness but not heavy – attractive. Lovely in the mouth – vibrant flavour that grows in intensity, wide and mouth-watering, slightly tannic finish. That’s a great white – maybe Sylvaner is the future of white Beaujolais!
A nice rosé colour. The nose is tight, only slowly opening a little but pure. In the flavour almost savoury but with mouth-watering energy. Long, bready and wide. Holds the finish very well with a faint tannin. Fun wine.