Pascal Aufranc – 2020


Pascal Aufranc 2022Tasted with Pascal Aufranc, in Chénas, 17 March 2022.

Domaine Pascal Aufranc
890 chemin de Rémont
69840 Chénas
Tel: +33 4 74 04 47 95

Here is a well-hidden domaine in the tail (of the dog) of the map of Chénas.

There are 4 hectares of vines on granitic soils behind the domaine plus another 6 hectares in Juliénas. “I have a white too,” proclaims Pascal, “A pinot gris planted on the clays of Juliénas; the 2020 made from 4-year-old vines.

Pascal’s father was a vigneron in Juliénas though Pascal trained in Beaune. Pascal worked here and there after his time in Beaune, “As my father’s exploitation was too small to support the both of us,” but he later found some vines in Julienas and grew from there. The largest part of the domaine’s vines are on the clays around Les Capitains and Les Crots.

All Pascal’s new planations are made with mechanisation in mind, in cordons but he still has plenty of old goblet vines at the domaine, though he’s replanting a part practically every two years. Globally, France is the major market – though about half of his Chénas is exported.

The wines…

Absolutely some of the best wines I tasted this week!

All the 202 wines are bottled, though not all are commercial at this stage:

2020 VdF Pinot Gris
That’s got an attractive, almost beeswax style to the nose. Broad over the palate, silky, mouth-watering, supported by a little minerality but also cushioned by a modest richness. Very easy to drink, no rigour – that’s very tasty – mineral and tasty finishing!

2020 Chénas Naturellement
Young (25-year-old) vines, no destemming, no added sulfur – also not for bottling.
Plenty of colour. Very forward and perfumed – red, pure, but with florals too. In the mouth, there’s proper shape and structure here, a modest tannin that supports and an impressive extra width and dimension of finishing flavour. The flavours are a little round but otherwise no overt signs that it’s a no-sulfur wine. Bravo!

2020 Chénas En Rémont
The old vines from the domaine, a grill used in the fermentation tank.
Again very perfumed – just like the previous (the same terroir) – despite extra depth to this nose, I actually slightly prefer the no sulfur wine in this respect. This sits with authority in the mouth – structured, fresh never aggressive – holding a great shape. The finish more open and certainly more incisive than the previous wine but for waiting a little longer. Excellent wine.

2020 Juliénas Les Cerisiers
A finer width of aroma – slightly airy – with a very sophisticated impression. Silky, higher-toned, beautiful darker fruit – why not cherries! Juicy finishing with super purity – love! More than excellent!

2020 Juliénas Probus
The parcels of the last with an addition from Les Chers above the village with a blue-stone soil. All the elevage in cement eggs from Bordeaux that mimick the oxygen transportation of barrels. He’s very happy with the result!
Fresh, pure a little vibration of spice and an airy perfumed top note. Wow – that’s both incisive, concentrated and fluid – as fluid as any 2019. Vibrant, mouth-watering, fine pure, dark fruit. That’s the best wine of the week! Bravo!
2010! Juliénas Probus
The same parcels. Had vines in Juliénas since 2005 were hailed in 2008 but this cuvée has existed since 2009.
Medium-plus colour – showing a little age. Oof – that’s a nose with plenty of maturity but it’s clean and fresh too – ultra-inviting. Silky, fluid again, broad – still a micro-grain of tannin with a faint accent of dryness. Broad, a little marsala in the finishing complexity – a pleasure to drink! Bravo again

2003 Chénas Vignes de 1939
Medium, medium-plus colour. A deep, round, impressive nose – at the extremities there are complexities of more asparagus and fine herbs – but in the main that’s an impressive fruit for nearly a 20-year-old wine. The herb and asparagus are more to to the fore in the mouth, but also here is still plenty of fruit and just enough sucrosity and finishing minerality to make it more than interesting enough to take another sip. Lovely!

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