Domaine Piron & Lameloise 2019 'Quartz' Chenas, Beaujolais, France
- Winemaker: Dominique Piron
- Varieties: Gamay
- Farming: Sustainable with Organic Practices
- Terroir: The soil is granite-based clay with bands of quartz running through it. This is where the wine gets its name as the quartz imparts a mineral quality to the wine which makes it very expressive without being heavy
- Vinification: Indigenous yeast fermented, Whole Cluster Fermented, Concrete Vat Fermented
- Aging: Large format barrel aged
- Notes: The wine has excellent concentration and character and plenty of forward dark red/purple fruit. The balance is perfect and will enable aging over the next 5-7 years, but it’s delicious to drink this evening. This is a perfect example of why the best cru Beaujolais can stand side by side most Burgundies from the Pinot Noir grape.
We love a good collaboration. It’s in our mind that not enough chefs and winemakers come together to create beautiful wine, especially in France, the gastronomic capital of the world. Dominique Piron is already known for his lovely wines from Beaujolais (we are slightly obsessed with his sparkling wine!), but this wine is a small but mighty side project of his. This vineyard in the tiny cru of Chenas, Beaujolais’ smallest, is co-owned by Dominique Prion and Christian Lameloise, known for Maison Lemeloise, the Three Star Michelin Restaurant and Relais-Chateaux property.
The cru itself has vines basically on one square mile of slopes, but this wine comes from a single parcel of granite outcroppings glittering with quartz (hence the name of the wine), where the bush-like vines up to 60+ year old manage to squeeze out just enough fruit to make this bottling. (This is kind of a rare bottle, folks). The vines are harvested by hand, then partially destemmed. The wine begins just a bit of carbonic maceration for a few days to coax out some of Gamay’s florality, then finishes in traditional Burgundy fermentation methods, with punch downs and pumpovers, before finally being moved to neutral oak barrels to age. The intensity of this terroir, along with the skillful guidance of Dominique, a master of the Morgon cru, creates a full bodied, cellerable Beaujolais (drink it now, but maybe try it again in 5 years!) that could stand right up against some of its more famous Burgundy neighbors to the north.
As suggested by the name of this wine, there is conspicuous minerality in this wine, with a very floral attack on the nose followed by a darkening of complex mixed fruits, then balanced by lush mouthfeel and mature tannins.
This is a wine meant to be served with a rich meal, the kind you might find at a Three Star Michelin restaurant like Maison Lemeloise in Burgundy. And for the price, we think we’re going to drink it all!