Domaine Chapel Chiroubles
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Region: Chiroubles, Beaujolais, France
Grape varieties: 100% Gamay
Domaine Chapel Chiroubles is a bright and fruity cru Beaujolais from a young and dynamic couple. Tart cranberry and purple flower beauty.
Song: Near Wild Heaven by R.E.M.
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About Domaine Chapel Chiroubles
Domaine Chapel Chiroubles takes whole cluster Gamay bunches through a semi-carbonic maceration with indigenous yeasts. The grapes fermented as whole berries for 3 weeks before being pressed. The vintage had thick skins and small berries due to a proportion of millerandage in the Saint-Roch parcel, resulting in a darker juice. The wine was aged for 8 months in cuve and bottled unfiltered.
In January of 2018, David and Michele began working 2 hectares of vines in the Beaujolais Cru of Chiroubles. The wine is an assemblage of two high-altitude, steeply-sloped parcels: Saint-Roch & Poullet. Each parcel is about 1 hectare in size, each east-facing and planted to high density, gobelet trained vines. The land is worked organically and by hand. The average vine age of Saint-Roch is 55 years, and Poullet varies between 40 & 60 years old. The bedrock is granite and the soil is a blend of pink granite, sandstone, and weathered rock fragments.
About Domaine Chapel
Domaine Chapel is a Beaujolais estate founded by David Chapel and Michele Smith-Chapel in the cru village of Régnié. The Chapels produced their first wine – a 2016 Juliénas “Côte de Bessay” – in partnership with Mathieu and Camille Lapierre, winemakers and owners of acclaimed Morgon estate Domaine Lapierre.
It was back in Beaujolais while working at Domaine Lapierre in 2013 where David met his future wife, Michele Smith, a wine director based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2015, the Chapels relocated from New York to the Beaujolais to found Domaine Chapel. Starting in 2018, in addition to Juliénas and Beaujolais-Villages, Domaine Chapel will produce two cuvées from their own 3 hectares of vineyards in the crus of Fleurie and neighboring Chiroubles.
Chiroubles is an appellation for red wines from Beaujolais. As with all red wines from the region, they are made from the Gamay grape variety. This is one of the smallest of the 10 Beaujolais crus, with around 235 hectares (800 acres) under vine. The wine production zone stretches up the southeast facing slopes of the hills just to the west of Beaujolais.
The vineyards of the appellation lie in the administrative commune of Chiroubles. This is found roughly in the center-west of the northern Beaujolais crus. The commune shares a border in the south with Morgon and one in the north with Fleurie. Its terroir is similar to that of the latter. However, vineyards in Chiroubles rise as high as 450 meters (1500ft) above sea level, making them some of the most elevated in Beaujolais. As a result, there is a more pronounced diurnal temperature shift here than in most of Beaujolais. The warm sunshine of the Saône River valley is followed by much cooler evenings.
This cooling of the grapes overnight helps to extend the growing season in Chiroubles. Harvest here often comes later than in the rest of northern Beaujolais. While the cooler mesoclimate here often translates as freshness in Chiroubles wines, a very cold vintage can mean grapes struggle to ripen fully. This gives rise to a lighter, fresher style of red wine, often with floral and red fruit characters. In fact, Chiroubles is often described as being the most “Beaujolais-like” of the 10 cru wines.