2014 Claire et Fabien Chasselay Beaujolais ‘Quatre Saisons’
Region: Beaujolais < Burgundy <France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; limestone/granitic soils. 50+ year-old vines, whole cluster, carbonic fermentation, 4 months in huge, old wooden casks
Winemaker: Fabien Chasselay
The Chasselay family is one of those deep-rooted European families that can trace their lineage way back—in this case to 1418 and to the very place where they farm grapes today! Throughout the 1980’s Chasselay shifted from selling grapes to négoçiants to making his own wine. He never liked using herbicides, preferring plowing, and soon became intrigued by organic farming methods. Then in the 1990’s he met Marcel Lapierre (the granddaddy of natural wine) who inspired him to work without sulfur. Today Chasselay credits his organic approach for sparing him the low yields that plagued many in Beaujolais this year, due to weather. But what I love most about Chasselay is that he is unapologetically old-school, a self-proclaimed communist motorcyclist whose favorite vegetable is “pig.” Recently he turned over the reins of the estate to daughter Claire and son Fabien. Fabien, who makes the wine, trained with the iconic Bruno Clavelier in Vosne-Romanée, which perhaps explains the Burgandian elegance and Pinot-esque resemblance in this entry-level Beaujolais Village. This is a bright, happy wine, with vibrant red cherry and red currant fruit and unexpected peppery notes. Delicious, juicy, easy-drinking Gamay that pairs fabulously with everything on your Thanksgiving table.