350 metres above sea level, you’ll find a small winery perched on the hillside of Rémont, in the village of Chénas. Pascal Aufranc’s estate began with only 4 acres under vine, most of which was planted in the 1930s. The winery is surrounded by fields and forests, creating an isolated area free of interference from neighbouring vineyards. Pascal now sustainably farms 10 hectares of vineyards in the villages of Chénas, Fleurie and Juliénas. Work in the vineyard is done manually and great efforts are made to encourage biodiversity in the fields. The wines are unique and very expressive, often characterized by a floral spicy character and rich stone fruits.
Chénas, the smallest of the 10 Crus of Beaujolais, is comprised of 635 acres sitting on the slopes of Mont Remont. Chénas is known for producing Gamay wines with weight and structure, similar to Moulin-a-Vent, and, along with Moulin-a-Vent, is generally regarded as the finest Crus of the region. Laying atop a combination of granite and sand, with quartz striations, the wines have a particular depth and backbone that is signature, giving longer-lived, bigger versions of Beaujolais than most consumers are used to. Surrounded by forests and fields, sustainable agriculture is practiced to ensure the tiny Cru is properly cared for.
En Remont Vineyard in Chénas possesses gnarly old vine Gamay planted 75 years ago. Sitting atop granite with a layer of sand and quartz, this exceptional Cru vineyard is known for producing wines of depth, character and tannic spine. With 3.75 hectares under vine, only 615 cases are produced each year.
Gamay, like the Beaujolais region in which it thrives, is often misunderstood and underappreciated. Depending on how it is grown and vinified, it can produce simple, light fruity wines (Beaujolais Nouveau) as well as bigger, structured reds showing cherry, berries, pepper and roasted notes (Cru Beaujolais).
Hand-harvested. Sorted whole clusters are crushed, then fermented in open top, gridded vats, with an 8 – 10 day maceration on the skins. After fermentation is complete, the wine spends 8 months in concrete on its fine lees to round out any rough edges and gain mouth-feel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
A serious, sturdy version of Beaujolais, with blackberry, black cherry, paprika and crushed white pepper on the nose. On the palate, this medium-bodied charmer has brilliant acidity and a fair amount of tannic grip. The fruit is bright, not brooding, but some mid-term aging would bring out the tertiary notes just starting to develop[. Lightly chill and serve with braised rabbit, a solid charcuterie board featuring rillettes and patés or chicken tacos.