Last month we traveled to Beaujolais to taste the new releases from the Moulin-à-Vent Grand Cru. While there we visited the Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent, which is named after the iconic windmill that sits adjacent to its vineyard. We tasted their current releases with Jean-Jacques’ son Edouard and winemaker Brice Laffond.
The Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent dates back to 1732 in its previous incarnation as Chateau des Thorins. Jean-Jacques Parinet purchased the estate in 2009 and has made significant investments in the vineyards and the winery.
Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent has 37 ha of vines in some of Moulin-à-Vent’s most outstanding climats. The vines are old (up to 80 years of age), densely planted (10 thousand vines/ha), and produce very low yields. The estate is experimental in its approach to improving the vineyards; currently, it is experimenting with organic and biodynamic practices as well as different training methods for the vines.
Edouard Parinet manages the estate today, and Montpelier grad Brice Laffond is the winemaker. He previously worked at Domaine Faiveley in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley, and Geisen in New Zealand. His winemaking is Burgundian in character with long macerations and aging in oak, about 20 percent new. The wines are serious vins de garde.
The U.S. importer is Wilson Daniels.
Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent 2014 Clos de Londres Moulin-à-Vent 91 Carmen red. Aromas that recall boysenberry with touches of spice and dried herbs. The Clos de Londres reveals concentrated flavors on a big, broad palate with firm tannins and a medium long finish. The grapes are sourced from the small vineyard of 40 year old vines located in front of the chateau. The fruit is all destemmed, and the wine is aged 18 months in barriques, half new. The wine is names after the 1854 vintage that won a gold prize at an 1862 wine exhibition in London.
Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent 2016 Couvent des Thorins Moulin-à-Vent 89 The Couvent des Thorins is an easy drinking vineyard blend. It’s very pretty on the nose with red cherry and rose petal and other floral notes. The palate picks up on the same theme with an appealing freshness and silkiness. Made from hand harvested fruit from estate vineyards, about 40-50 percent whole bunches from older vines. The 2015 vintage is current in the US.
Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent 2015 Moulin-à-Vent 91 This Moulin a Vent blend of vineyards located in for different climats reveals a medium dark red hue and lush, ripe elderberry and black cherry scents. It’s a wine of excellent depth and richness with supple tannins. Matured 1/3 in barrel and 2/3 in stainless steel. About 25% whole bunches.
Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent 2014 Champ de Cour Moulin-à-Vent 92 The bouquet of the Champ de Cour is especially marked by floral notes of violets and roses complemented by red and black berries with an earthy note. Soft and feminine in character with a delicate texture and elegant focus. A little more lush in 2014 than is the norm for this vineyard. The fruit is all destemmed and the wine is aged 14 months in 10% new French oak barriques.
Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent 2014 Croix de Vérillats Moulin-à-Vent 92 The Croix de Verillats has an especially vibrant nose, recalling red and purple fruit and savory herbs. It’s silky smooth with a firm backbone, a fine, mineral-tinged focus and lingering black raspberry notes on a firm finish. Made from 65 year old vines growing in sandy, granitic soil. Aged 14 months in French oak, 30% new.
Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent 2014 La Rochelle Moulin-à-Vent 93 The La Rochelle is exceptionally pure and rich with great equilibrium. It reveals deep flavors of red berries accented by toasted oak on a suave, juicy palate. Outstanding. Made from 80+ year old vines on a southerly exposure. All destemmed fruit; the wine is aged 14 months in 65% new oak.