Beaujolais, Part 9
Paul-Henri and Charles
Paul-Henri Thillardon started this domaine in Chénas back in 2008,
and has built it up piece by piece. They are based in Chessignol and
have 4 hectares here, with very old vineyards behind the domaine
(80-100 year old vines). This was the first of their vineyards he
took to biodynamics, which he started with when he acquired it in
2012. In 2014 Paul-Henri was joined full time by his brother Charles
(who is in his early 20s; he began his career with a milk company),
and now all their vines are farmed this way. In total they work 12
hectares of vines.
In Chénas, there are sedimentary soils on the left of the river, and
granite soils on the right. This granite is very old, because there
has never been any glacial erosion.
Their father is a winemaker in a cooperative in the south of
Beaujolais. Winemaking here is quite different, though. They cool
the grapes down in a reefer and then use whole bunches with no added
sulphites. During the maceration, they look at the yeasts under the
microscope to check they are good ones. There are no punch downs or
pumping overs. Sometimes a little bit of SO2 is added. 'We like
natural wine,' says Paul-Henri, 'but we like clean natural wine.'
15-20 mg/ml of SO2 is added before bottling.
The wines are fabulous. My favourite was the remarkable Chenas
Chassignol, which is the block behind the property. But other
bottlings of Chenas: Blemonts, Boccards and Les Carrieres, are also
very fine, supple and elegant.
They seal their bottles with wax, and they have a machine to make
this process a bit less onerous. Wax costs 30 c per bottle, but I
think it's worth it. This is about double the cost of a capsule.
Thillardon Chénas Les Carrières 2014 Beaujolais, France
Supple, pure and fine with raspberry and cherry fruit.
Supple and fine-grained with some nice texture and smootheness.
There's a bit of raspberry grip. 93/100 (05/16)
Thillardon Chénas Les Carrières 2016 Beaujolais, France
From a rocky part of the cru with silex soils, this is
supple, fine and elegant with real focus and purity. Very expressive
and fine with a light, elegant texture. 93/100 (04/18)
Thillardon Chénas Les Blémonts 2014 Beaujolais, France
Clay/manganese soils. Very sappy, fine and expressive with
clean raspberry and cherry fruit. Lively with good acidity. Grippy
and focused with a nice detailed saline edge to the pure fruit.
Has nice fine-grained structure. Paul-Henri thinks the
slightly saline finish is directly from the manganese.
Thillardon Chénas Les Blémonts 2016 Beaujolais, France
From soils rich in clay with manganese. Focused raspberry
and cherry fruit with a nice stony, mineral quality. Bright and
focused with nice purity and finesse. 94/100 (04/18)
Thillardon Chénas Chassignol 2016 Beaujolais, France
They now have a monopoly of Chassignol, after they bought their
neighbour's plot. Quartz and granite soils. Assertive and bright,
spicy and quite rich, this is a bold wine, but with vibrant acidity
too. A bit of reduction in the background. Really fresh and intense,
with a savoury edge. 94/100 (04/18)
Thillardon Chénas Chassignol 2014 Beaujolais, France
The vineyard at the back of the property with granite and
quartz soils. Fine, fresh and expressive with a peppery nose and
some sappy red fruits. So pretty with lovely bright, sappy, green
mineral notes and some bright red fruits. Lovely purity and acidity.
Thillardon Chénas 'Vibrations' 2014 Beaujolais, France
Very supple and bright with nice raspberry and red cherry
fruit. Fresh, juicy and fine with nice precision and a griotte-like
character. A pure style. 94/100 (05/16)
Thillardon Chénas 'Vibrations' 2016 Beaujolais, France
From very old vines, this is a blend of
terroirs. Lively and bright, and has a bit of acid lift, Dense
cherry and raspberry fruit, with some density and nice spiciness.
This is really vivid. 93/100 (04/18)
Thillardon Moulin-à-Vent 2016 Beaujolais, France
From the part of Moulin bordering Chenas, this is a lighter
style of Moulin. Expressive and bright with a bit of acid lift, and
nice focus to the cherry and berry fruits. Lively and vital. 92/100
Thillardon Moulin-à-Vent 2014 Beaujolais, France
This is the first vintage. Lively, peperry bright nose with
raspberry and red cherry fruit. Powerful, juicy and grippy with nice
pepper and spice notes. Vivid and lively with some real grip. 91/100
Thillardon Chénas Chassignol 2015 Beaujolais, France
Even if it is a hot year, Chassignol always seems to keep
its focus. This is concentrated and broad, with stony, savoury
characters and some grip. Berry and red cherry fruits dominate.
Lovely weight and still quite fresh. 93/100 (04/18)
3, Yann Bertrand
6, Jean-Marc Burgaud
7, Domaine Marcel Lapierre
8, Jules Desjourneys
10, Mee Godard
tasted as indicated
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