Deep into Burgundy and into Beaujolais, this afternoon. Here we continue to enjoy some brilliant Chardonnay, but also the criminally underrated/misunderstood (in the US) Gamay grape. 


A view from the property of Domaine Marion Pral

It’s substantially warmer here in Southern Burgundy — perhaps in the high-40’s. The walk around the property is not the bone-chilling task of the last day-and-a-half. Owner/winemaker, Pascal Chatelus, gives us a quick tour of the tiny neighboring parcel (just a wisp of the 50 acres under vine) of Gamay vineyard. These vines are planted on rolling hills of a thin layer of top-soil on a bed of granite. The resulting fruit is full and intense in a way most American consumers would find surprising if only exposed to that November outburst of sweet and easy juice. 


Hilly vineyards of Gamay.


In the vinification room.

The vines on the immediate property (10 miles from Villefranche) have an average age of 40-45 years. All vineyards are sustainably farmed. As we passed from the vineyard to the winemaking facility a few of us stopped to inspect the bags of fertilizer (mostly cow manure) to be used for the coming season. Mr. Chatlelus and wife, Marion Chatelus (née, Pral) are the latest in several generations to farm these vineyards in as ecologically sound a manner as possible. Winemaking shows minimalist intervention, as well, with hand-harvestincool simple temperature controlled fermentation, and aging in concrete tanks.



Harvest is off-loaded through these doors to the vinification area.

It’s all over but the tasting at this point. I carry the basic Beaujolais Cuvée Terroir and Beaujolais Blanc, so I was already familiar with just how wonderful these wines were. They serve as brilliant introductions to the region as well as being fine bridges to Burgundy for the US consumer who may have a predilection for riper domestic stuff. 


Mr. Pascal Chatelus presenting his wines.


  • Beaujolais Rouge Cuvée Terroir 2012 (juicy cherry lozenge, ripe but young and edgy — bottled just three weeks ago)
  • Beaujolais Rouge Cuvée Terroir 2011 (super-darkly fruited, silky soft with firm tannins, incredibly long finish)
  • Moulin-à-Vent 2012 (unfiltered, big cinnamon nose,bright and prickly raspberry fruit — carbonic maceration has not settled down in bottle yet — very youthful grippy tannins)
  • Moulin-à-Vent 2011 (shows where 2012 will be in time, cinnamon/cherry nose and palate, silky and juicy fruit)
  • Morgon “Les Charmes” 2012 (dusty leather/clove nose, dark and firm but still unsettled, this will be a beast)
  • Morgon “Les Charmes” 2011 (poured from magmun, rich and soft but short and not as deeply expressive as 2012 will prove to be)
This was a lovely visit with some true farmers and winemakers. From here day two will conclude after a long drive to Orange…stay tuned.