Château de La Chaize – 2019

Update 9.3.2022(30.3.2021)billn

Nicolas Meilly 2021 Château de la ChaizeTasted in Odenas with Nicolas Meilly, 03 February 2021.

Château de La Chaize
69460 Odenas
Tel: +33 04 74 03 41 05
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The new facility for bottling and stocking bottles is now largely complete at the château – it has a James Bond-style to it – partly hidden, but what a construction lies beneath the newly replanted trees! Today Nicolas Meilly was my guide while Boris Gruy just had time for a small chat after meeting with contractors. It’s not just this new facility, of course, there is the continued replantation of many hectares of vines and the not inconsiderable project of renovating the cuverie is nearing completion and then there’s the château – from the roof down!

As noted last year, this will eventually be a domaine working 140 hectares of vines – including their new purchases – they have 99 hectares of Brouilly around the château which also happens to include the monopoly of 8 different climats! The team here have started in a good way from a commercial perspective; their sales were higher in 2020 than 2019 and 2018 before – though they started from a low number with the change of ownership in 2018. 2019 was the first vintage converting to organic viticulture.

Chateau de la Chaize

Nicolas on 2019:
We started bottling in January – it should be finished by July. We were lucky, because there was some frost in the area but we managed to avoid any calamities – also no hail in this vintage but there was a little botrytis rot that developed in some places – Fleurie for example so a little triage was needed there. Overall, we made about one-third less volume in this vintage – 200k bottles – though 350k would have been produced from the same surface before. The heat was a factor but also our conversion to organics. I think that you wouldn’t place as coming from a hot vintage – there’s ripe fruit but wrapped with a nice freshness. I think it’s a vintage with a lot of drinkability.

The wines…

Still a domaine that’s very-much a ‘work-in-progress’ – undoubtedly all the new foudres (above) are adding a little extra to the flavour but it’s already very subtle. The wines are slowly catching up to the impressive eye for detail that the team have here.

Currently the domaine uses the (new) Nomacorc seal for their entry wines, and NDtech cork for the rest:

2019 Brouilly
From Frairies, a lieu-dit in Brouilly but it isn’t noted on the label. This a sample pre-bottling, the bottling was actually done 2 weeks ago though.
This nose is a little compact but hints at some floral complexity. Mouth-filling and with fine energy too – wide, slowly lingering, mouth-watering – long that’s clean, fresh and excellent.

2019 Fleurie
An assembly of parcels in Chapelle des Bois, La Madone and Champagne – to be bottled next week.
Less colour the nose is more forward, open and shows a nice purity of aroma. Nice attack – there’s freshness and a modest structure but a width of attractive flavour too that balances well. Long finishing, red-fruited freshness framed with a faint dry tannin – but of no grain – and this will be largely gone in 6-9 months. Very tasty.

2019 Côte de Brouilly
Also a modest colour. The aroma is more forward than the nose suggests – freshness but also depth of darker-red fruit. Extra impact from freshness – a small tannin at the base – no grain – lovely the energy and tasty width of this wine. Mouth-watering flavour in the delicious finish – that’s very good.

Now the parcel selection wines sealed with NDtech corks:

2019 Fleurie Chapelle des Bois
Working by horse now.
Not a fully open nose but here is a width of modestly textured and very inviting red fruit. Sleek, fresh, more direct, gorgeously textured. That’s a beautiful, mouth-watering wine – almost juicy. Great Fleurie of finesse – bravo when the nose unfurls!

2019 Brouilly La Chaize
Of-course the monopoly here – the hillside behind château!
More colour. A more vertical nose too – deep, darker-red fruit but freshness above. Incisive, fresh-flavoured – plenty of presence in the mouth. Not the immediacy of the last Fleurie, here’s a wine to have a little more patience with, but the structure will quickly melt – the finish is wide and long – excellent but wait 2-3 years…

2019 Côte de Brouilly Brullières
The third vintage that this has been produced – the same climat as the cuvée from Château Thivin, different spelling. Plain-south-facing, bluestone area.
Again a modest colour but the nose has good width and a certain elegance too. Also incisive but juicier – really appealing over the palate – so much to find and enjoy – and no problem drinking this wine a little younger – despite a faint halo of tannin – it’s just so tasty.

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