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Chateau Portier

DSC00008Tasted in Moulin à Vemt with Denis Chastel-Sauzet, 12 April 2016.

Château Portier
1765 Route de Moulin à Vent
71570 Romanèche-Thorins
Tel: +33 3 85 35 59 39

What a fabulous position this domaine has, not just the ‘château,’ they also have vines all around the Moulin itself, indeed there is also a tasting room inside the Moulin which also belongs to the domaine. The domaine has 23 hectares in total, 8 of-which are in the Moulin à Vent appellation. The ‘garden’ of the chateau is a beautiful 0.5 hectare clos called the Clos Portier – “It was once described as a 1er cru” says Denis, “Though we don’t make the cuvée every year, so far 2006, 2009, 2011.”

Denis bought the domaine in 2006 with a view to oenotourism, today the domaine produces 9 appellations; “I’m looking for very good maturity, we often harvest 14 days after other producers start their harvest. Last year we had only 4 treatments, so I would say that our approach is ‘très raisonée’ – we are Bio in one parcel but not with certification; In the end it’s about harvesting good grapes at a good time.

“We always ferment with whole clusters, a traditional vinification with a long cuvaison for many cuvées that means over 20 days. It helps to ensure wines that are fermented dry by the time they are removed from tank. Only our Fleurie is destemmed – it was too dense before. The ‘tête de cuvee’ goes into barrel, never new, but sometimes the elevage is up to 24 months. We then make an assembly in stainless-steel.”

About 20,000 bottles per year are sold direct from here, the rest is bought by Dubeouf where Denis used to work. “Here you can get everything from ‘vin de garde’ to fruit juice. There are some exports, but only to small professionals who are really interested in what we do…”

Currently the domaine is selling wines from 2009 to 2012, even some 2005s and 2006s.

The wines…

Honestly, this was far from my favourite visit during this trip. Relatively hard finishing young wines which I assumed was aligned with the domaine’s vin de garde ethos, yet older wines seemed similarly hard to me. All wines sealed with 49mm cork.

At the time of my visit, all these wines were available direct from the cellar.

2012 Chiroubles
Wide fresh, faint rubber, lovely impression in the mouth with fine texture and fresh, precise dark flavours. A little bitterness in the finish, almost phenolic, but long, intense and with dry extract – but really a wine to wait for. I hope…

2013 Juliennas
South facing but the highest vines in this area.
Deep, dark fruit, also a hint of rubber reductive impression. Nicer fruit, more tasty and more mouth-watering. Still plenty of mid-palate tannin but a little less bitter and more mouth-watering. A nice finish, though also a wine that will need some time to approach but I think this should be good!

2012 Chénas
On the flat; Denis keeps 2 hectares for the domaine, and the rest is sold.
A relatively uninteresting nose. Wide, good growing intensity, a base in tannin, some licorice, good length.

2011 Chénas
Deeply coloured. A little more vibrancy to this nose, darkly fruited, and herbed. More concentrated and with a cleaner line of fruit. Super width of flavour. This has super potential but is still some distance from being ‘charming…’

2010 Chénas
A slight improvement in aromatic freshness. Again a small improvement in the fruit flavour, again its bathed in tannin. Very nice mouth-watering flavour in the finish. Still to wait for.

Clearly the hardness of the wines is waning with age but Denis says its a shame that 10 and 12 are already sold out!

2009 Fleurie Vieilles Vignes
Deep, dark fruit, some vibrancy if not fully inviting. Here is a nice dimension of flavour, still hard flavours, but there are nice parts including plenty of floral anecdotes. I’m impressed with this, there’s certainly a little more finesse vs the previous whole-cluster wines, but it remains a little hard for now…

2006 Moulin à Vent Vieilles Vignes
8 months elevage in in barrel.
A certain roasted dark fruit quality to the nose – though this is about the best so far. Wide, relatively silky, and a very nice line of flavour. The fruit is a little macerated, but this is the first wine where I have the word elegance in mind – even if only relative to what has gone before.

2009 Moulin à Vent Vieilles Vignes
Here the same cuvée but with a Tastivinage label.
Really a nice depth of aroma – the first that I find attractive. Lovely in the mouth, roundness with concentrated flavours and fine complexity – still a big young wine but one with deportment. Very good! And a good finish too!

2005 Moulin à Vent
An impressively deep, almost cordial dark fruited nose, at first I thought a note of reduction, but then it was gone. Wide, frank, fresh flavoured with very fine tannin texture. Less sweet perhaps than the 09 but more floral finishing and indeed super impressive finishing. Yum!

2002 Moulin à Vent
A lighter year. This wine had only two months in barrel.
A fresh nose, a very faint development of the nose with some sous-bois, but still, overall, there’s a sweet impression. The tannin is almost gone, the wine is silky, it has that particular faint oxidative aging aspect of gamay – but there’s nice intensity and a wide complexity. A more charming wine and tastes/drinks well.

2006 Moulin à Vent Clos Portier
A deep dark nose, not super attractive, almost a little volatile. The fruit is also a roasted style – there is freshness but no deliciousness to my taste. The finish is mouth-watering and modest intensity, though long.

2009 Moulin à Vent Clos Portier
This smells much more exciting, a hint of oak spice perhaps, but an extra freshness to the fruit. Silky, fresh wine, plenty of flavour dimension, young but never harsh. This is much, much nicer than the 06. Great quality…

2011 Moulin à Vent Clos Portier
Not planning to commercialise until 2019!
A modest intensity nose, faintly oaked. Line and length, fresh, sleek, concentrated wine with a growing intensity. The tannin is subdued. He finish floral. Here is a very fine wine…

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