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.
Juliénas has a distinctive soil structure compared with the heavy granite base found in most of the other Crus. Here, schist and volcanic rock help to create weighty wines with a firm tannic structure and a subtle though omnipresent earthiness.
Grapes are sourced from the 1.75 acre ‘Les Crots’ plot, planted with 70 year-old vines in silty clay-based soils with a south-south east exposure at 290 metres elevation. The vineyard is densely planted and sustainably farmed with a heavy focus on vine competition and biodiversity.
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).
Whole clusters are fermented via indigenous yeasts. Manual, whole-cluster fermentation in cement in gridded vats for 14 days, wooden grid on top (cuve grille) to maintain cap down (alternative to punch down to avoid oxidation of cap). After pressing and malolactic fermentation in tank on fine lees, 20% is aged in neutral oak barrels (228L) and the rest in tank.
Darker fruit on the nose than you normally associate with the Cru, with blackberry and anise mingling with ripe raspberry and white pepper. There is ample weight for a Gamay but the elegant acidity keeps it balanced. There is some tartness here, so the fruit is a little drier on the palate than the nose, but you’ll find riper red berry flavours with some wood spice and violets and great tannic structure. Pair with a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings.