Profile: Domaine de l’Ancien Relais (St.Amour)


Tasted in Saint Amour with Jean-Yves Midey, 13 July 2017.

Domaine de l’Ancien Relais
45 route des chamonards
71570 St Amour Bellevue
Tel: +33 3 85 37 16 05

Jean-Yves and Marie-Hélène Midey are the 5th generation of winemakers in this family. Jean-Yves used to work at Fleurie’s 2-star restaurant Le Cep but in 1995 he moved to the Relais with his wife, Marie-Hélène. It was André Poitevin who started the domaine here in 1973, Marie-Hélène is his daughter.

Today the domaine covers 8.30 hectares – a mix of St.Amour, Beaujolais Villages and Juliénas with a little Beaujolais Blanc too. The domaine buildings really were a ‘Relais’ situated between Mâcon and Beaujeu, the buildings standing on a cellar from ~1400.

The domaine is raisonée in the vines, half the domaine has herbs growing between the rows, the other half is too steep so here they still use herbicides. Whole-bunches are used – all harvested by hand by 30 harvesters in about 8 days with triage in the vines – actually a table that comes in the vines with them! Then follows about 10 days of maceration/fermentation followed by elevage, all in thermo-regulated stainless-steel tanks.

Half of the domaine’s production is exported – about 40,000 bottles – and much is sold in bulk. Jean-Yves also noting that there’s a good passing trade of visitors to the Relais.

The wines…

Really a good address – worth your time.

Bottling is normally before the next harvest but they like to keep the bottles a year too, so 2013 is the vintage for sale just now, so we started with that. The domaine has 3 St.Amour cuvées:

2013 St.Amour Clos de la Brosse
A 1.10 hectare climat, here plenty of blue clay. This area makes ‘more concentrated wines that need a few more years to come around.’ These are old vines, planted in 1913, with small grapes – never need to chaptalise from here.
Deep nose, good clarity of red fruit and more raisin fruit. Grows in the mouth, slowly grows a little tannin too – good fresh red finishing fruit – this is really coming round for drinking. I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t guess St.Amour, but it’s of a good standard.

2014 Saint Amour Vieilles-Vignes
Fruit from Bonnards and a little more Chamonnards
Really more classic aromas of bright red fruit (and colour). A little more cushioning to the texture, a growing intensity of flavour – indeed really a food depth of flavour here. Chewy, mouth-watering finish. This is very tasty wine – yum. The structure says wait – but whats waiting? – 6 months? 🙂
2015 Saint Amour Vieilles-Vignes
Really quite a tight nose. Supple, layered, depth of flavour. This is a bravo wine – great texture, faintly saline. Super stuff!

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