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Cave de le Château de Chénas

DSC00270Tasted in Chénas with Remi Chagny (right), 17 May 2016.

Cave du Château de Chénas
69840 Chénas
Tel: +33 4 74 04 48 19
cavedechenas.com

This co-operative represents the production of 80 producers and 210 hectares. With 90 hectares of vines in the cru they are the largest producer of Moulin à Vent. They, unsurprisingly, have a lot of Chénas too – 60 hectares – with more modest quantities in the other Beaujolais crus. This cave also has a suggestion of chardonnay too – 2-3 hectares worth – always labelled Beaujolais Blanc, not Bourgogne Blanc. All-together approximately 500,000 bottles are commercialised each year here and a significant volume is sold in bulk to the négoce of the Côte d’Or.

As with most co-operatives, the general construction of the cuverie is a little dated, but there has been plenty of investment in new tanks too. Mainly cement tanks but with stainless-steel innards – cement overcoats if you like… Their impressive barrel-cellar can take 350 barrels – it’s rather cool – and was constructed in 1700s.

Each vigneron makes their triage in the vines and then makes a report on the cleanliness – if their harvest doesn’t meet the standards of coop it’s not accepted – quality is also cross-checked by the coop, the result will determine the amount of payment. Given their ‘reach’ the coop deal with around 200 tonnes of grapes per day for about 10 days at harvest time!

There are mainly two types of vinifications here; the traditional of about 1 week, heating a little to start fermentation (to 20-25°C), one remontage per day – carbonic fermentation ‘to get the maximum fruit.’ The other type of fermentation sees some grape destemming, heating to 60 degrees for 12 hours before cooling and then starting the fermentation – with added yeast as they have killed the indigenous strains with these temperatures. Let’s call that a ‘hot-prefermentation-maceration!‘ Remi notes that “Now, more and more terroir-facing cuvées of the different lieu dits, are being made – some barrel elevage of 10-12 months…

It’s an Easter bottling for most of the crus, “Only about 6% of our production goes to Nouveau” says Remi “As our vines are mainly in the crus…

The wines…

I visited this producer based on a great blind-tasted wine or two, but I have to say that there were some wines here that I found real turn-offs – massively vanilla-filled confections. Remi actually described one as being ‘A Côte d’Or style cuvée‘ – I really couldn’t let that comment go, because massively overt vanilla cream is so rare in the reds of the Côte d’Or…

2015 Fleurie
Sampled from tank almost 30 hectares worth for this cuvée.
A deep and vibrant nose – very dark but fresh fruit. Just a hint of gas but here is a width and fine intensity of dark fruit. Very fresh and forward mid-palate fruit. Very tasty wine… Big and mineral finishing too…

2015 St.Amour Cuvée de Granit
Only 5 hectares worth, principally sold in the caveau.
Bright, pretty dark fruit – more aromatic focus to start than the Fleurie. More vibrant in the mouth, certainly more layers of flavour – this is a very fruit-led wine, almost cordial-like but I have to admit that I’m enjoying it. More confiture than vin-de-garde, but super-tasty all the same… Serious finishing complexity though!

2015 Chénas
Massive colour. A fresh and certainly more floral nose here – of-course very darkly fruited. Fresh, faintly gassy, dark fruit, a little less jam, lots and lots of intensity. A little tannin texture. Big finishing and long too. This is my favourite so far!

2015 Moulin à Vent
Almost black! Dark, faintly sweet, some licorice but flowers too. More gas but it brings a burst of fruit with it. Lots of intensity and a little tannin too. Here is impressive complexity to partner the density.

Honestly, these 2015s are a little too much today! Fortunately they wont be bottled for quite some time yet…

2014 Chénas Coeur de Granit
10% with barrel elevage – a parcel selection of older vines.
Bright, open, floral and attractive, even with a hint of pyrazine. Cool fruited a faint pyrazine but wide and growing in intensity with very fine mid-palate flavour – this is getting better and better in the mouth – super – bravo!

2014 Moulin à Vent Coeur de Granit
Same idea as last wine but maybe twice as much oak here – 20%
A fresh, almost silky nose. – no obvious pyrazine here to start. Rounder, velvet, more fat to the palate – here some pyrazine flavour but a fine additional complexity. Almost a coffee/mocha aspect in the finish. A super wine.

2013 Moulin à Vent Coeur de Granit
A little less exciting, floral but rather guarded aromatics. Super silky in the mouth with a fine freshness and excellent intensity. A clean almost mineral finish – this is super, more so than the 14 today. Lovely…

2013 Moulin à Vent Cuvée Thesaurus
All in oak – this cuvée a selection of the favourite barrels. Asserted to be Côte d’Or style wine – let me tell you, if Côte d’Or wines were really like this I would have a very different job today…
Really heavy vanilla and barrel nose – yuk! Bright, fresh fine energy and flavour dimension but far too much oak for this palate. A shame to waste raw materials like this(?)

2006 Chénas Selection de la Hante
A nice freshness of aroma with a slightly tight but deep core of fruit no the nose – still young. Growing floral dimension – lovely. Quite large in the mouth, floral, fresh, complex, no oxidation, it’s just perfect today – bravo! And still young with a small bite of tannin. Excellent!

2005 Moulin à Vent
Also a nice freshness, a hint of menthol and florals – very attractive. Also this wine has zero oxidation, its fresh and complex. Really super, yet a little tighter than the 2006.

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