The Cat and his daughter Jeanne Chanudet
Did you say Beaujolais? Perfect, here we are again with Gamay, a favorite grape variety at Epicurieux. And we are not at just anyone! Jean-Claude Chanudet, known as “The Cat ”. Marcel Lapierre 's generation, Le Chat is one of the precursors of natural wine, he makes digestible, elegant, fine wines that are renowned for improving over time. Those who have had the chance to taste his old vintages will not be able to tell you the opposite!
Jean-Claude Chanudet, his beautiful story
Reference of natural wine, reference of Beaujolais, Jean-Claude Chanudet is one of the great names of this world.
But before setting up as a winemaker, Jean-Claude Chanudet had his own bottling business. It was not until 1989 that he decided to become an artisan winemaker. It was by taking over the estate of his father-in-law that he made his debut, thus the Chamonard estate was born. It is therefore in the heart of Morgon, in Villié-Morgon exactly that the Cat settles with his wife Geneviève.
At the time, this great soil of Morgon was the ideal place to have fun with winegrowers and make committed wines, wines without chemical products. But who had fun countering the rise of conventional wines, putting back on the tables living wines, local Gamays? There was Jean Foillard, Georges Descombes, Marcel Lapierre of course and then Jean-Claude Chanudet, known as The Cat. Their mentor? Jules Chauvet and all his expertise on these natural wines.
It is therefore natural that Jean-Claude begins to make his wines by leaving the power to nature, by letting the soil express itself, and returning to traditions. Impossible for this culture and this know-how to disappear, Jean-Claude Chanudet transmitted his passion to his daughter. Jeanne, who trained as a veterinarian, has therefore just joined the family adventure and has come to perpetuate this absolute mastery of Gamay. And it is already with a well-established talent that Jeanne gradually takes over the Chamonard estate.
The soil of the Chamonard estate
Jean-Claude Chanudet has worked from the start to highlight the soil, to let the Gamay express itself as naturally as possible in his bottles. And it is with brio that he succeeds in doing so. He knows it, the soil on which he settled is large, he wants to magnify the old vines which he cultivates with a good peasant sense.
The Chamonard estate is therefore located in the Morgon and Fleurie appellations, the vines are between 60 and 90 years old. They grow and recharge on soils of pink granite, decomposed rocks and friable shale.
From their installation, Le Chat and his wife want to be the least interventionist possible. They then work their vines in organic farming, respecting the environment above all. No machine is used for the cultivation of the vine, the work is rigorous and carried out by hand. There may be only light plowing of the soil. In the cellars, it is in the same process that the grapes are vinified. No chemicals are added, native yeasts do their job, and human intervention is extremely limited. Today, thanks to these artisan winegrowers, thanks to the Chamonard estate, the Gamay from Beaujolais is revealed in another aspect. While remaining on a digestible side, Morgon and Fleurie from the Chamonard estate have the reputation of having extraordinary aging potential. Perhaps you will have the chance to taste one of the old vintages that are still sleeping in their cellar...
The wines of the Chamonard estate
The wines of Jeanne and her father are healthy wines, wines without chemistry and from the soil. We appreciate tasting them for their digestible side, but also straight. A controlled winemaking that offers us Gamay as we like.
The Chamonard estate obviously offers us its 2019 Morgon bottle. Coming from a granite soil, it is vinified in whole bunches, with a semi-carbonic maceration of 15 days, then there is an aging of 10 months. A juice that has it all: elegance, complexity, fruitiness. A Morgon kept in his cellar for the most curious...
The Fleurie Droit de Véto 2020 bottle is the first bottle vinified by Jeanne. It's a little nod to her initial training as a veterinarian, which she still exercises at 50%. On her arrival Jeanne took over the vines, today the estate soon has 9 hectares of vines. Droit de Véto comes from pink granite soil, there were 15 days of carbonic maceration, then aging for 7 to 8 months in barrels. A totally mastered wine which, like the hallmark of the house, will evolve marvelously over time. The terroir of Fleurie is fully expressed here, Jeanne has a bright future in the family estate.
Then the Fleurie 2020 bottle. Hot vintage, which makes it difficult to balance the wine, but for all that this Fleurie offers a juice full of finesse and delicacy. Here the aging lasted 10-12 months in barrels.
Gamays like you will rarely find, juices that stand the test of time, Jean-Claude Chanudet holds his reputation with a master hand. Epi-curieux.com is happy to offer you the mythical wines of this Beaujolais character.