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Paul Henri Thillardon Chenas Les Carrieres 2013

Gamay from Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
  • RP90
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

The nose reveals notes of spice with floral notes like peony. The palate is quite sweet, candied notes come fast enough. The structure is rather silky because of the consumption of Chenas in its youth. The flavors change throughout the tasting passing from candied fruits to a roasted, spicy cinnamon pronounced finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Chenas Les Carrieres comes from the alluvial soils of a single 2-hectare parcel. It has a very stony, detailed nose, the fruit taking a back seat to cold stone and undergrowth aromas that develop in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, a little conservative perhaps, linear and "correct," but there is fine tension and energy on the finish. A subtle and understated Chenas to enjoy over the next 5 to 8 years.
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Paul Henri Thillardon

Paul Henri Thillardon

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Paul Henri Thillardon, France - Other regions
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Paul-Henri Thillardon is, at a very young age, a masterful winemaker. It's got to be a gift, he has perfect pitch and his wines sing.

Chenas is not far from Moulin-a-Vent, and for that reason the wines can show much of the same muscle. Paul-Henri brings you this concentration, but knows where the balance point is for elegance. They call it 'grown-up wine.'

In 2008, at the age of 22, Paul Henri made the important decision to dedicate his work to the cru of Chenas, rather than in neighboring and better-known Moulin-a-Vent which usurps much of the notoriety of Chenas. Tilting at windmills, some say.

Then in 2010, he planted an acre of vines on a beautiful southeast facing parcel in Chiroubles, and another parcel of Viognier grapes, a variety that is not authorized in the Beaujolais rules. By early 2011, the domain covered 5.7 hectares (13.7 acres) with his Chanas vines an average of 40 years old.

As with many of the new generation, Thillardon is dedicated to organics and has taken to using horses instead of tractors in the vineyard à la Pontet-Canet. The vineyard is biodynamically farmed - Vines are only treated with herbs and are ploughed by horse. The wines are made with indigenous yeasts and see no sulfur until bottling. Vinification is Burgundian - Grapes are de-stemmed before fermentation. Long fermentation and maceration.

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Beaujolais

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The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.

Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.

Four styles of Beaujolais exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.

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Delightfully playful, yet at its best capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-packed wines from Beaujolais and parts of the Loire Valley. While it has received some criticism for its role in Beaujolais Nouveau—a decidedly young, charming and fruit-driven wine—the Gamay grape is very capable of producing serious wines. The variety is also widely planted in Savoie, Valle d'Aosta and Switzerland, and has recently found success on a small but growing scale in Oregon.

In the Glass

In its simplest form as Beaujolais Nouveau, a wine released just a couple of months after harvest, Gamay is fresh and full of cranberry and cherry candy flavors. But Gamay is capable of much more. The region of Beaujolais is divided into Villages and Crus, where granite-rich soils and conditions are perfect for Gamay. The Villages and Crus wines, given more time on the vine and in the winery, are capable of improving with age and offer dark blackberry or ripe cherry flavors with enticing aromas of baking spice, violets and dark wet earth.

Perfect Pairings

Gamay is delicious on its own; the simpler bottling can even benefit from a light chill before serving. It is the quintessential picnic red and goes well with simple charcuterie, country pâté and terrines. Gentle tannins and bright acidity make it a great option with Asian food, even dishes with a bit of spice. Gamay is also great with poultry, especially duck or Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce.

Sommelier Secret

Within Beaujolais, there are ten different Crus, or highly ranked grape-growing communes. Each one has its own distinct personality—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant and Morgon is serious, structured, and age-worthy, capable of rivaling some red Burgundies.

GAR2THILCHE13_2013 Item# 156477