A Wine That
is all about balance. On one side, there's this clean, salty, mineral tang, but after a little while in the glass, there's a plush side to this, too. It's like one of those creative desserts which plays with the combination of sweet and savoury flavours — peach sorbet with a sprig of rosemary and a dash of sea salt perhaps?
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- Winemaker: Domaine Chapel
Where and How?
Winemakers Michele & David have long been fans of Aligoté - the grape variety too often considered to be the underdog of Burgundy. Being just down the road from some of the great limestone terroirs it favours, they are able to buy some organic fruit from a domaine in Mâcon to create their own expression. At the same time, they're financially supporting this young grower. Win win!
This is very simple winemaking to allow the fruit to speak for itself. The grapes were whole bunch pressed, after which the juice was left to ferment naturally in stainless steel, in which it also aged for seven months. A sprinkle of sulphites (20ppm) were added when the wine was racked just before bottling; none beforehand.
The Winemaker: Domaine Chapel
This is the kind of love story which really should be turned into a novel.
Michele, one of New York’s most respected sommeliers, was visiting one of her favourite regions—Beaujolais—to taste with growers. David, the son of 3 Michelin-starred chef Alain Chapel, had also become smitten with Beaujolais and was working with the iconic natural wine domaine, Lapierre, where Michele was due to taste. However, she was running late, and Matthieu Lapierre had an appointment elsewhere, so David offered to step in.
The rest is history; long story short Michele never really returned to the US, and the two settled in an old stone house in the Juliénas Cru, rented vineyards, bought a dog, had beautiful twins and a gorgeous little boy. Life goals, right!?
It's thanks to growers such as young couple, Michele & David, that the region is experiencing a rebirth, and the future is brighter than it’s ever been.
Jancis Robinson's Wine of the Week Review
Jancis Robinson OBE MW says, "Pale gold. Light smoky nose and then extremely opulent fruit on the palate with a hint of spearmint! Gloriously friendly. This has absolutely nothing to do with the tart Aligotés of old. Quite a throb of interest and vitality on the finish. Scrummy – perhaps too much so now to give it a longer life. Super-clean and interesting. I went back to this a whole week after tasting it and it was still in great shape and so thoroughly interesting that I increased my score from 16.5 to 17. It's still totally scrummy. I hope this gives you the picture. Scrumminess incarnate. Rich but not remotely sweet. A lovely combination of the ripeness of the Mâconnais and the discipline of Aligoté. Not a copy of a Côte d’Or white. Its own beast. Nick, who usually wholeheartedly favours red over white, drained the bottle to the last drop. I do hope Smith and Chapel continue to increase their portfolio and influence."