Le Seigneur des Beaujolais (the King of Beaujolais). There is in fact no commune or village called Moulin-à-Vent. Wines bearing the Moulin-à-Vent appellation (created in 1936) come from the commune of Romanèche-Thorins (334 hectares), and also from around Chénas (312 hectares). The name Moulin-à-Vent comes from on old windmill standing to the northwest of Romanèche-Thorins, now preserved as the last remaining specimen in the Beaujolais. This was until recently sail-less, and will be seen as such on many wine labels, reproductions of old postcards, and in old photographs lining the walls in bars and restaurants, but has now been restored.
Moulin-à-Vent wines are perhaps the most Burgundian of all the Beaujolais Crus; they are robust, with much tannin, and are the most full-bodied (and usually the most expensive) Beaujolais wines. In a serial Beaujolais-tasting, Moulin-à-Vent will normally be served last. In its youth it is a vivid ruby-red, with fine bouquet, though Moulin-à-Vent ages well by Beaujolais standards, and as it does so loses some of the fruity-freshness typical of Beaujolais, and acquires more Pinot-like characteristics. Our range includes a couple of young ones which are quite drinkable now, and some mature specimens for those who prefer not to wait.
"La Rochelle" is the vineyard containing the highest proportion of the oldest vines - the average age is over 70 years - and it is here that most of the centenarian vines are to be found. "La Rochelle" has somewhat stonier, rockier soil than "Les Caves" (which is only a few hundred yards away, but quite different), and this austerity produces wines that can remain quite closed in their youth. So we are just now releasing the 2009.
A deep granite red, with a nose of vanilla, spice, and dark berry fruits - quite dry and mineral which gives balance to the fruit. Very long and very impressive.
"La Rochelle" is the vineyard containing the highest proportion of the oldest vines - the average age is over 70 years The 2007 vintage, released in early 2010, is slowly reaching peak in 2013 and will continue to please for a few years.
A deep granite red, with a nose of vanilla, spice, and dark berry fruits. On the palate intense dark berry fruit, with well-judged oak, powerful gamey flavours, fine tannins. Very long.
This is a very special wine indeed - a premium Moulin-à-Vent named after Franck Bessone's daughters - the practice of naming wines after the winemaker's offspring is one I've seen quite a bit of in Austria, but this is the first such example I've found in Beaujolais. The wine is made with grapes which come from old vines from the very best Moulin-à-Vent parcels in the Domaine du Granit estate. The grapes are picked manually at optimum ripeness levels, and destalked prior to the individual berries being put in a tank; the temperature is lowered to 10° C and then slowly allowed to rise over the next 4-5 days, and fermentation starts spontaneously using yeasts occurring naturally on the grape skins. To give the wine structure, the ancient method of pigeage, or "punching down", is applied twice daily to maximise tannin extraction. There follows a long and slow fermentation over three weeks and then the wine is aged in oak barrels for about 18 months. During aging, the wine is racked once.
A big-framed Moulin, with substantial depth of colour; on the nose are vanilla, oak, and violets, with newly-cut hay and spice aromas. On the palate it is smoothy yet dense with great depth of flavour; lots of fruit, an almost meaty texture, and a gamey earthiness. Huge length, with spice and violets.
Allow to breathe for at least an 2 hours before consumption, and ideally longer. Serve around 14-15 deg C with rich red meat dishes, stews, game etc. 13.0% ABV.
This excellent Moulin from Bernard Santé comes from a small parcelle (1 hectare) of vines grown on granitic soil with rich veins of manganese, giving the wine its particular characteristics. When young, it has aromas of iris, roses, black fruits, and spice, the dominant note being of violets. It has a deep ruby red colour, with a powerful taste; it's drinking beautifully now but will keep up to 10 years from the vintage if cellared correctly, developing its character as it ages. Served around 15°-18°, it goes particularly well with red meats, meat dishes in sauces, particular strong tasting game dishes such as wild boar and venison, and fine cheeses (especially a good crumbly goats cheese).
It is remarkable how Bertolla's Moulin-à-Vents taste like Syrah-based Rhône reds, and Côte-Rôtie especially. There is a powerfully mineral side to these wines, a smokiness, and an almost meaty texture. A very dark ruby red, this wine has a dusty earthy nose, gamey and with hints of lavender and crushed white pepper. On the palate it is rich and powerful, with a gamey earthiness and plenty of intense black and red fruits - raspberry and cassis - and a peppery undertone. All that and yet remarkably smooth. Definitely one for food, and built for the long haul.