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Château du Moulin-à-Vent
  • Image Château du Moulin-à-Vent no.0
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At a time when the prices of the great media wines are soaring, it is more relevant than ever to take an interest in the great vineyards of yesterday, fallen into a form of oblivion but on the right path to becoming once again the great terroirs of always. The Beaujolais is one of them. And whoever has never looked at the wine lists of the beginning of the 20th century cannot measure that in the past, Moulin-à-Vent had a great reputation and prices similar to Chambertin, Pommard or Vosne. The history of the Château du Moulin-à-Vent is in this respect the reflection of the viticulture in Beaujolais for three centuries. Once a flagship property of the region, it has known everything: the glory of the 19th century, when the best Beaujolais wines, and more particularly Moulin-à-Vent, were enthroned on the great tables of Europe; the takeover at the beginning of the last century by a large French business family, which for a long time believed in and invested in the vine and wine. Then, from the 1980s onwards, the slow decline of regional viticulture. And, as has happened in many emerging wine regions, or those rising from the ashes, a new owner arrived who was not a member of the elite, but who was driven by passion. With the skills he acquired in his first professional life, Jean-Jacques Parinet is gradually putting the boat back afloat, through investment and commitment, and surrounding himself with the right people.The wine estate is made up of more than 120 plots, spread around the Château, the mill and the hamlet of Thorins. It consists of 30 hectares of vines, exclusively in the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, with an average age of 55 years (in 2018), spread over 23 parcels, between 200 and 300 metres in altitude, the highest quality part of the appellation. The Parinet family and Brice Laffond, the estate manager, aim to produce pure, long-keeping wines that reflect their original terroirs. The viticulture is organic, with natural soil improvement and no use of insecticides. A yearly programme of soil work ensures that the roots of the vines are deeply developed and the substrate is aerated, allowing the vines to take advantage of their location. The plots of land are monitored according to the climate in order to maximise the exposure of the leaves and photosynthesis. Harvesting is done by hand, in small containers, to avoid crushing the berries and oxidising the juice. An average of 80 people are mobilised for the harvest, which means that the cutting can be completed in 6 days and we can concentrate on the period of optimal ripeness of the berries. The Gamay grape, in very high density (up to 12,500 vines per hectare), in this environment delivers a very low yield: between 16 and 35 hl/ha since the 2009 vintage. The estate's annual production is around 90,000 bottles for 5 cuvées: Couvent des Thorins, Château du Moulin-à-Vent and the 3 parcel selections (Vérillats, Champ de Cour and La Rochelle). In the cellar, the use of de-stemming or whole bunch vinification, the length of maceration, the number and rhythm of pumping over and punching down are adapted according to the richness and concentration of the fruit and its terroir. The vinification is carried out in small tanks, in particular for the plot selections. Then they are followed by tailor-made maturation which can be adapted according to the origin and/or the vintage.

The wines of the domain Château du Moulin-à-Vent :