Wine Reviews: Château du Moulin-a-Vent

I buy, cellar, and drink a lot of Cru Beaujolais. I love the freshness, the food-friendly appeal, the crisp and complex flavor profiles. They perplex me with their seemingly contradictory traits: they age beautifully but can be so crazy expressive in their youth. On a weeknight, when I’m cooking dinner (it doesn’t really matter what I’m cooking), popping a bottle of Cru Bojo makes everything better.

I recently tasted through four wines from Chateau du Moulin-a-Vent. While not inexpensive, these wines delivered exactly what I love about wines from this region.

The estate and brand have undergone seismic changes since 2009, when grocery store chain owner Jean-Jaques Parinet bought the estate. More than 70,000 vines were replanted and the cellar equipment was updated. Parinet, now overseeing 37 hecrates of vineyards, also decided to vinify four different terroirs separately, emphasizing the diversity of expressions within the vineyards.

Two wines hail from 2012, and two from 2011. 2012 was a rough vintage, with yields way down, and while the finished wines managed to get a good amount of ripeness, the wines are dominated by this zesty acidity, with a lighter frame and more tangy-fruited. But these wines, for palates like mine, are a total blast to drink – bright, fresh, complex, lots of juicy red fruit but some fascinating herbal and savory elements even at a young age.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted single-blind.

2012 Château du Moulin-a-Vent Moulin-à-Vent - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent
$39
Vibrant ruby color. Aromas of juicy red cherries and red plums, underlying notes of mushroom, fallen leaves and pepper. Palate shows crisp and brisk acidity on a bed of fine and dusty tannins. Tart but ripe cherries and plums, the fruit is clean and fresh and matched with notes of bay leaf, pepper, fallen leaves and sautéed mushrooms. Finishes clean and fresh. Some further near-term aging perhaps but this is vibrant and lip-smacking right out of the bottle. (88 points IJB)

2012 Château du Moulin-a-Vent Moulin-à-Vent La Rochelle - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent
$59
Bright ruby color. Vibrant aromas of strawberries, red cherries and tart plums, along with roses, bay leaf, pepper, and dusty earth. Dusty tannic structure with crisp acidity and a bright, clean appeal. Tart red cherries, strawberries, red plums, the fruit is tangy and crunchy and shows complex elements of mushroom, soy, clay soil, dusty earth, black tea. Long and lingering. Delicious stuff, a bit more density than the regular level 2012, this should improve nicely over the next two to five years. (90 points IJB)

2011 Château du Moulin-a-Vent Moulin-à-Vent Champ de Cour - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent
$58
Medium ruby color. Juicy dark cherries and fresh raspberries with rose petals and pepper on the nose. Fresh acid, dusty but dry tannins, great structure but really fresh, too. Crisp cherries, raspberries, but the fruit has excellent concentration and I get notes of violets, wet earth, graphite, iron. Long, lingering minerals and dark floral tones on the finish. Beautiful but plenty of time to improve in the cellar. (91 points IJB)

2011 Château du Moulin-a-Vent Moulin-à-Vent Croix des Vérillats - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent
$52
Medium ruby color. Aromas are juicy with raspberries but dark with plums, mixed with rose petals and iron. Fresh acidity, such a vibrant wine, dusty but dry tannins, it combines to form a wine that’s pure, brisk but structured firmly. Rocky soil, graphite, iron and violets on top of juicy raspberry and cherry fruit. Wow, very pretty now but years of improvement to come. (91 points IJB)

Singularity

Purity and delicacy are wine descriptors that do not appear often in reviews of top scoring wines. Terms like powerful, opulent and dense are the genre of pointy wines.

Poor Beaujolais seems destined to miss the mark for ratings defined by such descriptors. Youthful, fresh, lively, fruity, zesty and, the phrase that always damns a wine for the point obsessed, a "food wine", means low 90s at best.

Big points are the black holes of the wine universe. In the heart of the black hole the wines are dense and no light can escape from them, only points seem able to escape. Before all the lightness of wine is sucked away, down into the black hole itself, is the point of singularity where lightness can still exist. That's where wines like Beaujolais become relative.

If young Beaujolais finds relativity a problem, where can old Beaujolais find its place in the universe? It turns out Einstein was wrong when it comes to Beaujolais, Einstein's formula E=MC2 does not compute in this case where less mass creates more energy.

Recently I did a double take when I got a club shipment from Kermit Lynch. Côte de Brouilly? No surprise there. But wait! The vintage was not 2014, but 2006. The 2006 Côte de Brouilly Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes is indeed a singularity. It's a lacy, high strung ballerina of a wine. It was pure pleasure to let her dance through my dinner.

Black holes warp space time just as the 100 point scale warps wine time. Lightness is a concept that suffers in a universe dominated by black holes. They have indeed warped the wine universe.

I prefer to experience wines at the point of singularity.

Singularity

Purity and delicacy are wine descriptors that do not appear often in reviews of top scoring wines. Terms like powerful, opulent and dense are the genre of pointy wines.

Poor Beaujolais seems destined to miss the mark for ratings defined by such descriptors. Youthful, fresh, lively, fruity, zesty and, the phrase that always damns a wine for the point obsessed, a "food wine", means low 90s at best.

Big points are the black holes of the wine universe. In the heart of the black hole the wines are dense and no light can escape from them, only points seem able to escape. Before all the lightness of wine is sucked away, down into the black hole itself, is the point of singularity where lightness can still exist. That's where wines like Beaujolais become relative.

If young Beaujolais finds relativity a problem, where can old Beaujolais find its place in the universe? It turns out Einstein was wrong when it comes to Beaujolais, Einstein's formula E=MC2 does not compute in this case where less mass creates more energy.

Recently I did a double take when I got a club shipment from Kermit Lynch. Côte de Brouilly? No surprise there. But wait! The vintage was not 2014, but 2006. The 2006 Côte de Brouilly Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes is indeed a singularity. It's a lacy, high strung ballerina of a wine. It was pure pleasure to let her dance through my dinner.

Black holes warp space time just as the 100 point scale warps wine time. Lightness is a concept that suffers in a universe dominated by black holes. They have indeed warped the wine universe.

I prefer to experience wines at the point of singularity.