In an effort to pay homage to all of the wineries and vineyards visited last July in France, I continue with my experiences, as a guest of both Les Vins Georges Duboeuf and Château Roubine. This story started in Northern Beaujolais, scheduled by Georges Duboeuf.
The black and mustard-yellow, decorative roof (in this photo) is a signature of Burgundy architecture, which has segued down into the Northern Beaujolais region. I’m introducing you to the classic “look,” for some of its Juliénas buildings. I’m introducing you to the classic “look,” for some of its construction. This example is found at Château des Capitans Juliénas. I’d really love a day to just have a driver and tour northern Beaujolais. I’d spend my time capturing an art montage of this signature style. Tasting along the way would also be remarkable, of course – because I’d have a driver and the wines would be fabulous.
Château des Capitans is a 19th century château; and was indeed a highlight of the continuance of my French education, in the northern region of Beaujolais, France. Château des Capitans is situated right in the heart of the Juliénas cru, in the small town called Les Capitans.
[Pictured left to right: Wine writer Jessica Norman Dupuy, wine marketers Dianna Michniewicz and Allyson Boullianne, social media maven Amanda Burrill, and winemaker William Chevalier.
The vineyard below is a single, 17-acre block, and is 1,050 feet above sea level. It has an ideal south-east exposure, with its soil make-up consisting of granite, clay, and alluvial silt; all perfect for grape growing.
Next Came the Château
We toured the nuances of the chateau’s structure, and then walked through these wooden doors, to descend into the wine cellar… It was time to taste Château des Capitans Juliénas’ Beaujolais wines.
[PHOTO Left to Right: Far left is our driver for the day in white blouse, Kelly Mitchell, Dianna Michniewicz, Allyson Boullianne, winemaker William Chevalier, and Duboeuf’s Romain Teytea.]
Juliénas Château des Capitans 2009, 2015, 2017, 2018
These wines really caught my attention. The voluptuousness of earthy Beaujolais is a perfect way to describe them. Perhaps being in a damp cellar, just perfect for aging wine; the right temp, the touch of damp, the perfect amount of earthiness, in an explosion of rich cherries. Definitely medium-bodied and reflecting the love of land and wine grapes. There was exquisite richness. Each vintage had a similar personality, based on location. Yet, each also reflected the weather of its separate vintage.
First, let’s talk about dark fruit for this brand. Remember, this Gamay Beaujolais is grown close to Burgundy and its Pinot Noirs. They have a bit of a similar character, Gamay and Pinot do. Usually we think of Pinot as the lightest of red wines, and just taking that one step south into the Beaujolais region of Northern Burgundy, the flavors seem to pick up a bit more depth… as least on my palate they do. All very delicious.
Juliénas Château des Capitans 2009 ~ The silkiness that time brings to a great aged wine is always delicious. It’s what geeks “ooh and aah” about. Of course, this one was my velvety favorite. I wrote, “So rich and so much body. Very beautiful vanilla notes from its oak aging.” I remember it well. Aged wines just stay with you as something impressive.
Juliénas Château des Capitans 2015 ~ A good four years, on this wine, gave it softer tannins; the other favorite that delivered a bit more silk than velvet. Still smooth, but not as aged. I sipped it in between tasting, writing, listening, and photographing. This one was like a great companion going along for the ride.
Juliénas Château des Capitans 2017 ~ Two years old, it was alertly young and developing into its own. I wrote, “Very dry, cement tanks made it pretty linear… Cherries red and black, it has depth. I could take you home, Madam Gamay. I’ve got a French Onion Soup waiting to marry you.”
Juliénas Château des Capitans 2018 ~ The exciting youngest had the most present acidity and tannins. Grab the cheese course and it will all just melt in your mouth. “Gamay Rouge Au Jus… I could have a delicious burger with you, Little Missy.”
TIME TO LEAVE PARADISE
As we exited the winery, we went through the wine cellar, where aromas always leave one wanting more. It’s an experience hard to define, walking through the ages of accumulated harvests that permeate the entire structure.
When I worked in wineries, each time we would take visitors into the wine cellar, people seemed to breath in deeply, so they could take that signature aroma home with them. Ultimately, you just have to visit again. The End of a Happy Beginning.