Chateau Du Moulin-a-Vent
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 in News
Drink fine Gamay from the famous estate in the far south of Burgundy that gave Moulin-à-Vent its name. Adrian Read reports...
Beaujolais hit a peak of international success in the 1980s with Beaujolais Nouveau. It was a time when the region produced more wine each year than the whole of the rest of Burgundy combined, both red and white, including Chablis.
As quantity went up, quality went down, the inevitable consumer backlash followed, in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, and Beaujolais was flooded by a lake of simple, thin, sweet-sharp wine destined for government-ordered distillation.
Quality producers have fought back with a new focus on Gamay as a red grape fully capable of taking its place alongside Pinot Noir, a focus on the best sites in the famous 10 crus of Beaujolais, dramatically reduced yields and judicious use of oak maturation. The word Beaujolais is not to be found on their labels.
CHATEAU DU MOULIN A VENT, Moulin-a-Vent 2015
Among the leaders is Château du Moulin-à-Vent, the estate after which the most famous Beaujolais cru is named: Moulin-à-Vent, The Windmill.
The estate dates back to 1732, but required substantial rehabilitation when it was purchased by the Parinet family in 2009.
Château du Moulin-à-Vent has just received an important boost, named one of the Top 10 Beaujolais producers by leading French wine critics Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve.
Bettane and Desseauve describe Château du Moulin-à-Vent as a reference-point for the appellation, a status achieved in quick time due to the continuing excellence of wines with controlled power combined with finesse and elegance.
The recognition comes just six months after the estate was named one of France’s Top 100 Domaines by U.S. Wine & Spirits magazine.
CHATEAU DU MOULIN A VENT, Couvent des Thorins, Moulin-a-Vent 2016
Jean-Jacques and Edouard Parinet are a father-and-son team who, with winemaker Brice Laffond, have revitalised Château du Moulin-à-Vent - as well as the nearby Pouilly-Fuissé estate Domaine du Roc des Boutires, which the family also owns.
They are making fine Chardonnay - as well as fine Gamay - in the far south of Burgundy.
Château du Moulin-à-Vent has 37 hectares under vine, spread across a number of named sites, mostly on favoured south-facing slopes with granitic soils. Together, arguably, (says Wine Advocate’s David Schildknecht)... “they constitute collectively the largest single share of top acreage in the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, and… render wines that will be flatteringly compared with the great Pinots of the Côte d’Or…”
Langton’s imports these wines, and is proud to offer them as serious - and very affordable - red Burgundies.
The entry-level Couvent des Thorins 2016, from organically-farmed vineyards overlooked by the 15th century windmill that gave the region its name, is just $35 per bottle.
Other wines on offer come from the specific terroirs of La Rochelle and Les Vérillats, at per bottle prices of $70 and $60 respectively.
The Windmill - Moulin-à-Vent
The vineyards, up to 85 years old, are untrellised, with each vine trained into the shape of a gobelet (goblet). Here we would call them bush-vines.
More than half the volume of the single-vineyard wines spend (usually) 12 months in Allier and Vosges oak barrels, up to half of them new. These wines are increasingly catching the (positive) attention of international critics such as Neal Martin and James Suckling.
Moulin-à-Vent is probably the most famous of the 10 Beaujolais crus. Can you name the other nine?
Here’s a refresher: Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Chiroubles, Chénas, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, (Moulin-à-Vent), Régnié and Saint-Amour.
You will likely see more of these names, without any mention of Beaujolais.