LESSONS LEARNED FROM VISITING MOULIN-À-VENT
“It all began with a bottle of Brouilly from Château de la Chaize. Or was it a Juliénas from Pascal Granger? Or maybe it was the Moulin-à-Vent named “Couvent des Thorins”from Château du Moulin-à-Vent?
“At some point, a few years ago, I hopped on-board the bandwagon and became a BeaujNerd, a CruHead, a Gamayniac. And unless the quality of the region dramatically dips (and there’s no reason to see why it would), I’ll be on board for life. There is something about Cru Beaujolais wines that is so transparently beautiful and easy — to me, they are the friendliest entry point for novices to French fine wine.
“So when I first laid eyes on the granite hills of Beaujolais a few weeks ago, I’ll admit that I was giddy. It didn’t matter that the light was failing after an exhausting day of travel: the landscape of steep hills, stubby bush vines and intimate villages tucked into ravines immediately felt familiar.
“My group was headed to Château du Moulin-à-Vent, an historic estate that was once the domaine of reference for Beaujolais’ most prestigious Cru. But complacency and neglect throughout the late-20th century led to a steady decline of the estate’s wine. Its purchase in 2009 by the Parinet family has resurrected its reputation in remarkably quick fashion. Their version of Gamay Noir is strong, complex yet still agile, and their recent adventures with Chardonnay in nearby Pouilly-Fuissé look very promising.
“I was already quite familiar with their wine, but seeing a winery first-hand will always put its wines in better context. The estate seemed like the perfect starting point to advance my education on Cru Beaujolais…”
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