Chiroubles 'Cuvée Lea' — Gamay 2019
A Wine That
is one of the most elegant red wines we've ever tried. It is so pretty that it reminds you of one of those designer perfume adverts - the ones where impossibly beautiful people are dressed in impossibly beautiful silk. This wine is at their level. Where Gamay is usually more on the fruity side, this is focused on flowers: lilac, penies, violets and even the faintest hint of lavender. It's a wine for thinking and exploring the lighter side of red.
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- Winemaker: Guy Breton
Where and How?
Guy buys this Gamay fruit from a friend, from a plot of 65 to 70-year-old organic vines in the Chiroubles Cru of Beaujolais. The plot sits high at 450m, which brings the wine a certain freshness.
Fermentation is always the same for all of Guy's Beaujolais Cru wines, to let the terroir speak, not the winemaking. Carbonic maceration takes place in concrete for between fifteen days and three weeks. He learnt how to vinify using carbonic maceration from the master himself: Jules Chauvet, a revolutionary biochemist and wine merchant. This special technique is one that elevates the fruity and floral characteristics of Gamay and provides a very delicate tannin structure. Ageing takes place in old wooden barrels, bottled the next summer. A miniscule amount of sulphur is added before bottling, and never any sulphur during vinification.
Thank you to Aaron Ayscough for this beautiful photograph.
The Winemaker: Guy Breton
Guy Breton is a revolutionary winemaker and farmer. Having grown up in Beaujolais, Guy himself admits he didn't even really like wine that much until he met the great late Jules Chauvet and fellow winemaker Marcel Lapierre in the early 80s. From spending time with them and tasting their wines, young Guy developed an obsession for Gamay. Together with a group of other winemaker friends, they made and farmed wine without chemicals, promoting natural farming methods, using natural yeasts only, and vinifying without sulphur. It is no exaggeration to say that from this group grew an entire movement - a movement that is today often dubbed "the natural wine movement," or in French, vin natur.
Today, the ever-humble Guy continues to farm and work in Villié-Morgon. Indeed, he might not even realise quite how famous he is in the wine world. His wines are listed in fine dining restaurants and trendy wine bars all around the world, and they continue to inspire wine drinkers and winemakers globally.