Tasted in Villié-Morgon with Jean-Claude Chanudet, pictured together with his wife, Geneviève Chanudet, 23 February 2021.
585, chemin de la Grenouille,
Le Clos de Lys, Corcelette,
Tel : +33 4 74 69 13 97
Jean-Claude Chanudet, nicknamed the cat, comes from a well-known generation of producers of ‘natural’ wines, such Descombes, Foillard and Lapierre. I’d never previously visited as I’d never tasted one of their wines – but given sufficient nudges from other producers I took the plunge. Given the aromatic purity of the wines that I tasted here – I’d put the domaine in a very small category of ‘natural,’ with just 2 other producers – Lapierre and Metras.
The name of the domaine hails from the family of Geneviève Chanudet, nee Chamonard – the family working vines here for generations. Her father, Joseph Chamonard had a small exploitation and he was latterly helped by Geneviève and Jean-Claude – Jean-Claude’s main work at that time was as a bottler of wine. “Geneviève’s father had never used ‘chemicals’ in the vines – he was always close to nature,” says Jean-Claude. Following the death of Joseph, in 1989, Geneviève and Jean-Claude decided to take on the family domaine. Since that time they have expanded their exploitation to a little over 6 hectares. Their daughter, Jeanne, a trained, indeed working vet plans to eventually join her parents full-time at the domaine, but for now, has one cuvée of her own – Droit de Véto – a cuvée made from vines that she has already purchased.
The last part of fermentation is always done in barrel here – the last 7-8 grams per litre of sugar. Elevage is in a mix of foudres, large formats and 228-litre barrels – but you won’t taste the barrel – it’s like visiting Vincent Dauvissat in Chablis. Sometimes older vintages are available from here, Jean-Claude confirms “Yes, sometimes I stop selling and then release later, I’ve some 13s, 15s, 16s and 17s for instance.”
The domaine mainly has vines in Morgon and Fleurie – with plenty of small parcels. “In terms of acquiring vines it’s always depended on what is available, how is the quality of those vines and do we have enough money in our pockets! It’s not a question of how much surface, it’s a question of how good are the vines. We try to make wines with some elegance and alter our vinifications with respect for the vintage – in these warmer years, we’ve been shortening the cuvaisons to try to balance the richness. Whilst there are different challenges with warmer vintages – we’re always looking for greatness.”
Very elegant, also very aromatically pure – despite their label of ‘natural’ – though that’s perhaps because a little sulfur is usually added before bottling. I will be looking out for them – great stuff here.
Three terroirs with separate elevage.
Plenty of colour to this wine. The aromas starting a little tight. Mouth-filling yet open and without any overt density – sleek, nicely textured with a modest grain at the base of the wine – no dryness. A lovely finish that is mineral and finely perfumed – that’s a really beautiful finish.
2019 Fleurie La Madone
Another tighter nose, faintly floral but compact. Hmm – that’s beautiful in the mouth – like the Morgon supported with a tiny, tiny grain of tannin – but completely ripe – there’s no dryness here just the textural grain. Open, very Fleurie in the middle flavours, and then a great finish – this is a wine that from each aspect is more and more open. Finishing great after starting modestly – a treat!
2019 Fleurie Droit de Véto
From Marrans, labelled for Jeanne Chanudet le fille du Chat
Here is the most open of these noses – compact but still with an airy style. A little more depth to the flavour here, more concentration – a richness – in the middle, but finely balanced all the same. The same small grain of tannin but finer still. More insistent finishing – though a bit more time is needed to open out in the finish – give this a bit more time in the cellar to enable that but it’s an excellent wine…
And to finish:
This never saw any sulfur but you wouldn’t notice. Generally it’s 2g of sulfur at the bottling time for the wines, but not this cuvée
The most open nose, of complexity, lots of complexity – that’s a great invitation. Freshness of energy, great shape and the complexity is more but not overtly of sous-bois or leafy aspects, simply more complex – there are many more years of evolution in this wine – great!