2018 Domaine Chardigny Saint Amour, Clos du Chapitre
Region: Beaujolais < Burgundy <France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; soils a mix of granite, schist, clay, alluvium; 50+ year-old vines, whole cluster fermentation, 4 months in huge, old wooden casks; bottled unfined/uniltered with minimal added So2; 13.5% ABV
Winemaker: Victor-Emmanuel Chardigny
Saint-Amour – the most northerly of Beaujolais’ ten crus – is probably the region’s least known yet most stellar, terroirs.. The other crus have more homogenous soils, but Saint-Amour has a bit of everything, making these wines the wild cards of Beaujolais. Wedged between Burgundy and Beaujolais, Domaine Chardigny is a small family winery with a 200-year long history. A few years back it was taken over by brothers Pierre-Maxime and Victor-Emmanuel, with a little help from their middle brother Jean-Baptiste, who works at Domaine Leflaive’s biodynamic vineyards in Mâcon. Like many next-gen winemakers, they converted the family farm to organic viticulture and employ very little technology, preferring to respect the environment and the old ways.
Legendary Beaujolais producer Dutraive buys grapes from these guys, this vineyard in particular, and credits the sterling quality of the source material for the complexity and beauty of his ‘Clos du Chapitre’ bottling. Which leads us back to the beauty of the Chardigny ‘Clos du Chaptire’ cuvee, which seems to illustrate one of the more intangible and mysterious factors of quality natural winemaking: the prime importance of long-term organic viticulture. Happy vines just plainly yield something more dimensional. (Something adjacent to – yet distinct from – the dimensionality and structure one gets from older vines.)
More Burgundian than the typical carbo-forward Beaujolais style, this Gamay is lush and voluptuous, a ripe fruit basket of wild strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb with a sprinkle of wildflowers and herbs. There is richness and power -- 18 was a warm vintage -- but here it’s perfectly balanced with finesse and a high-toned, aromatic lift. It’s also so food friendly, it’s hard to imagine what it wouldn’t go with… sushi maybe? Our new Bojo crush!