100% Gamay from one of the old family plots planted over loamy granite, peppered with limestone and quartz. The vines are between 30 and 50 years old. The grapes undergo a semi-carbonic maceration in whole bunches, with occasional pump-overs. Fermented and raised in concrete tanks without filtration, with bottling taking place some 15 months later. The aromas here are wide open, with a lifted floral perfume. With Moulin-à-Vent generally providing more meaty intensity, here an impressive balance of muscularity and elegance is on display, with a granular feel to the grippy tannins. Dark, inky fruits have a savory, almost Burgundian character, with a dense concentration that chisels down to bitter liqorice.
Unlike many of the better-known dynasties of natural winemakers in Beaujolais, Elisa is not being passed the baton of established family tradition, she is forging a new path.
The Guerins, based in Chénas, farm 4 hectares of vines across the Moulin-à-Vent and Chiroubles appellations that have been in the family since the early 1900s. Elisa, a trained agronomist, is the first generation to break out to pursue her vision of chemical-free viticulture over these sites and natural methods in the cellar. Very much at the beginning of what promises to be a fascinating journey, in 2019 Elisa began the long process of converting the land, with the long-term goal being to have the estate completely turned over to organics. With a strong focus on environmental impact, the plan extends to diversifying the landscape and encouraging biodiversity with the planting of hedgerows and fruit trees, and to experiment with new methods of fertilisation, using plant-based extracts and treatments. There will also be some white grapes popping up alongside all that Gamay, with plantings of Aligoté and Melon de Bourgogne.
She has begun with a small production of Beaujolais-Villages, from 50 year-old vines in conversion, as well as another wine from a small 2-hectare parcel in Moulin-à-Vent, both of which are the first to be bottled under her own name. As the reins are, piece by piece, handed over from her father, Philippe, Elisa is also changing the way the wines are vinified; fermenting only with native yeasts, raising the wines in concrete rather than barrels and scrupulously minimising any additions, seeking to create expressions of Gamay that reflect this mixed terroir of granite, limestone and schist.
The wines themselves are a real labour of love and make for compelling representations of the region; a precise balance of elegance, concentration and purity of fruit, with an underlying mineral aspect that wear the heat of a hot vintage incredibly well. They are, above all, a real pleasure to drink and we can’t wait to share them with you
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