An evening of Beaujolais, reinforcing the fact that some of them can age

Edouard Parinet of Château Moulin-à-Vent was in town. He’s collaborated with dynamic restaurateur Xavier Rousset to make a special cuvée, and so a small group (six of us) had a Gamay-themed dinner at Cabotte. We each brought a bottle of Beaujolais, with no conferring, and they all turned out to be good! In particular, the two older bottles here showed that Gamay from a good site, made in a certain way, ages beautifully.

Edouard Parinet

I also asked Edouard about the 2021 vintage in the region. There was a severe early season frost, so they knew the quantity would be down. Then in May/June there was record levels of rainfall, at least in the northern part of Beaujolais where the crus are. ‘Fortunately it was dry and hot at the end of August and beginning of September,’ says Edouard. ‘This helped a lot, but we still had to do a good amount of sorting.’ They began harvesting the lower part of the domaine on 15 September, and as they moved up the fruit quality improved a lot. Yields will be 19 hl/hectare, which is a little higher than they anticipated. Acidities are high, and alcohol levels low at 12.3-12.7. ‘It’s very different from 2020,’ he says, ‘more of a mix of 2013 and 2014. They anticipate the wines will be light in colour, very refined, in an acid-driven style.

Xavier Rousset

Château du Moulin-à-Vent Cuvée Exceptionnel 1993 Beaujolais, France
This predates the Parinet’s ownership: they bought in 2009. 1993 was a good but heterogeneous vintage in the region. This wine is superb, with fresh cherry and raspberry fruit. It’s supple with a real sense of elegance, and although there are signs of maturity, there is no decay. Very fine. 94/100

Gilles Paris Chiroubles Terroir 2019 Beaujolais, France
13% alcohol. Quite grunty and reductive on the nose, this has a bit of rusticity. There’s dense, sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit. A warm vintage well handled, this needs time to settle down. 92/100

Du Grappin Nature Beaujolais-Villages 2017 France (magnum)
This is pure, fresh and fine-grained with massive drinkability. Fine red cherries and plums with nice purity and sweetness to the fruit. This is in a great place at age 4, even with no added sulfites. 92/100

Clos de la Roilette Fleurie 2009 Beaujolais, France
Ripe and sweetly fruited with notes of red cherry and plums, as well as a touch of red apple. This has lovely sweet fruit. It’s very ripe, but still fresh with some juiciness. Grainy and focused, this has held up really well. 93/100

Château du Moulin-à-Vent Les Huit Ouvrées 2016 Beaujolais, France
This is a collaboration blend with Xavier Rousset. The idea was to find different parcels that would work well together. The first vintage was 2015, and as well as this they have made the wine in 2017, 2019 and 2020. ‘I wanted to have fun,’ says Xavier. ‘Blending is so difficult: it’s hard to project.’ Edouard says that this is a chance to retaste the different lots and understand them better. They make 1000 bottles or so each vintage when the wine is made. Sweetly fruited, lush and pure with linear cherry and plum fruit. Textured with sleek grainy cherry and plum notes. Real finesse and density here with some white pepper hints. 94/100

Clos de la Roillette Griffe du Marquis 2016 Fleurie, Beaujolais, France
This is an impressive special cuvée, showing pepper, spice and sweet cherry and plum fruit. Very focused, this has elegance allied with depth. Smooth sweet and stylish with fresh green hints. Lovely stuff. 94/100

Find these wines with