Tasted in Moulin à Vent with (right) Brice Laffond, Morgane Chambriard and Jean-Jacques Parinet, 12 April 2016.
Château du Moulin-à-Vent
4 Les Thorins
Tel: +33 3 85 35 50 68
Jean-Jacques Parinet tells me that the Château is slowly being updated, since 2009, when he arrived – slow or not, it could be the most beautifully appointed house and domaine of my whole trip in the Beaujolais. Once called the Château de Thorins, it is first mentioned in the 1730s and it seems to have been well-established already at that time. Wine has been made on site since the 18th century. As far as records tell, the Château has been sold just twice in its history; 1911 and 2009 when Jean-Jacques arrived, with his son Edouard, from a previous life in IT.
It’s a beautiful old vaulted cellar that runs from the cuverie to below the main house – the house is much later than these 500 year-old cellars – probably being re-modelled in the 1800s.
Morgane looks after the marketing for the Château whilst Brice is, since 2013, the technical director. Brice is responsible for both the vines and wines – he hails from Champagne, studied in Dijon and worked for both Château Mouton Rothschild and Faiveley. He explains “The domaine has 30 hectares of vines, all in Moulin à Vent, all hand harvested, triaged, then ‘giraffed’ directly into the tanks.” Vinifications are done in stainless-steel, and depending on the vintage they follow a shorter or longer cuvaison, but between 18-25 days. All the domaine’s parcels are separately vinified. About one-third has barrel elevage, the rest in tall, thin, tanks to aid keep the majority of the cap wet. Typical elevage is 12-16 months, though sometimes up to 24 months.
A mix of 228 and 350 litre barrels are used here, but they decided not to start with old barrels, as they wanted traceability on the forest/barrels, so use mainly Taransaud and François. 2009 being the first vintage for Jean-Jacques, almost all the barrels were new, but the proportion of new barrels went down since then, but up again for the 2015s.
The wines from here are mainly exported, it is mainly the restaurant trade that buy in France.
The average rendement here is about 25hl/ha – it was only 17 in 2012… The average consumer price here is €20… There are many, many many wines in Beaujolais that I think merit €10 per bottle, or less, but here are wines that merit more than their current €20 if the Cote d’Or is any yardstick. Almost all (bar one) the 14s are bottled. They normally commercialise 6-12 months after the bottling, so 2013 is the current vintage for sale from here.
I note that I tasted here with large indeed ‘correct’ tasting glasses – the same as I might use at home, and whilst I noted some oak elements in many wines, they were never dominant. Interesting then, that with the smaller tasting glass used at my big blind-tasting, the Château’s wines there seemed much oakier and less interesting because of that.
2014 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent
Deep, wide, slightly textured – what an executive nose – super! A base of tannin but very well controlled and relatively modest. Dark fruit, wide in aspect, a hint of licorice, a little oak flavour in the finish, but this is long, very long, and direct rather than particularly complex.
2013 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent
Deep, super deep aromas, a really beautiful layered fruit – bravo! Like the last wine a base of fine tannin to accent the palate, a little more overt freshness to the flavour, nice energy and an insinuating intensity. Again flavour of oak but already much more modest than the 14 so the finish is a little more tasty, if not necessarily longer, but still on the same very high level.
2012 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent
Deeper still, a little powdery aspect to the aromas – fine and transparent, like a faintly roasted blackcurrant. Lovely in the mouth – dimension, complexity a good energy – the tannin is on a very slightly lower order to the past wines with a similar freshness to the 13. Waves of finishing flavour that are super – this is starting to drink.
Not especially lighter in colour. Hmm, depth of-course but there’s an extra element here – class. A little extra fat, extra weight of flavour, but supple enough that it is highly enjoyable. A hint more tannin in the finish again – but this has a great finish. Really a wine of presence – bravo!
Deep, some width and a faint spicy element to the complexity – it could almost be a Vosne! Clarity, energy, freshness, a certain crocquant, crunchy fruit. This is top-level – excellent. The first wine with an obvious floral statement in the finish – super-long. Encore Bravo!
This seems a little deeper coloured (it’s a black table-cloth!). Different – a little more herb, dark, licorice, fresh and complex and inviting too. An extra sweetness to the palate, but equally fresh, very concentrated wine – really a super-impressive wine. Less drinkable than the 10 or the 11 today but I think just as good – bravo! A little extra sweetness in the long finish too…
Moulin à Vent – Croix des Vérillats
The cross of redemption, which was by a nearby wall, west from the château. It’s a poor, sandy soil, almost with a constant hydric stress for the vines, bringing very small berries. 4.5 heacares for this cuvée, typically all oak elevage, 20% new, except the 2009 which was 60%. 20% whole cluster in the 2014, the rest was destemmed. 25-27€ is a rough price-guide
Super colour. Wow – sumptuous, deep aroma – gorgeous. Expressive bright, focused flavours, really excellent concentration, long, long. A hint of oak, but hardly any in the finish. Super wine.
2013 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent Croix des Vérillats
Wide and involving, inviting aromas. Deeply fruited yet tighter than most of the others so far tasted. Really fills the mouth; fresh, impressive energy and great acidity. There is a hint of tannin below and then a burst of mid-palate flavour. A bundle of energy this wine – very impressive indeed. Still a faint dryness in the finish.
2012 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent Croix des Vérillats
Ouf! Now that’s nice! A faint reductive suggestion which is really additive to the aromas – yum. Like the 13 super fresh and energetic – drink or spit is the choice it offers. There is super complexity here, still very much a wine to wait for and unlike the equivalent MAV cuvée there is no softening yet! Yet lovely finishing flavours starting to add some floral complexity.
A tighter nose, still of obvious depth, faintly herbed. A base of tannin, still. Deeply flavoured – impressively so. A wine that has unbelievable concentration, then a burst of floral flavour that really lightens the load. A wine you will have to wait some time for – but it will be worth it!
A fresh and wide top note – depth is evident but clearly this is much tighter than most. Some slackening of the shackles here, there is fruit and flowers on the palate, lots of concentrated, engaging complexity. This is really super – bravo!
2009 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent Croix des Vérillats
Fresh, faintly floral and like the previous wine very tight below. Again an extra sweetness, massive scale without overwhelming. Plenty of tannin at the base. Lake the 09 MAV this has easier elements but is, for sure, still a little behind the 2010’s development. Great finishing flavour – super – almost drinking as well as that 2009.
Moulin à Vent Clos des Londres
Only made in the best vintages, just starting to commercialise 2011. 40 year-old vines from the Clos next to the garden of the château, part bio, part biodynamic; ploughing and modifying the pruning to allow the ploughing. Pricing is 40-50€ but I have no problem with this when compared to rather more modest villages vines from the Côte d’Or for the same money – or more!
Very wide, almost silky nose – but tight below. Big, wonderfully textured, fabulous in the mouth – contemplative yet with energy. Bright and long in the finish – clearly Bravo!
A modest depth but fine, wide and fresh – there’s a certain clarity of both aroma and flavour to these wines. Layered, less perfectly textured than the 2014 but still pretty good – really a panorama of flavours. Excellent and with a nice floral addition in the flavour.
Super-deep coloured. Fresh, faintly spiced dark fruit – deep but narrow (like the domaine’s tanks!) – getting more attractive all the time. Lush yet supple and focused. Really quite something – massive in the mouth but it doesn’t force you in any particular direction. Yum – the one to drink! Bravo. Super long…