The Charm of Chablis
Château de Béru, France
Introducing the latest release from Athénaïs and Château de Béru...
The charmed wines of Chablis are famous the world over and have been since the 12th century when monks tended the land. Some used a lunar calendar to guide them, as is seen at the entrance of Château de Béru, home to one of two remaining lunar calendars of its kind dating back to the 15th century. The monks would select the finest parcels by building stone walls around specific plots, known as Clos. Today, this land and its wines continue to be held in high regard amongst wine drinkers, investors and importers alike. But what is it that makes one Chablis different from the next among the ocean of Chablis production? Most will say, "I love Chablis wines" and expect a uniform steely freshness and minerality that is only achievable with significant intervention in the cellar. But for Athénaïs de Béru, custodian of the land of Béru and winemaker at the 400-year-old family estate, this is no way to make great wine.
"It's not about applying the same recipe to achieve the same wine, but about making wines that have their own personality and individuality and of course when one is working at the whims of the weather, each vintage requires a tailor-made approach.”View Wines
2018 Monopole is here.
We start with the emblematic 2018 Clos Béru Monopole, rooted in the greatest traditions of Burgundy. Taking its name from the 12th century wall that surrounds the five hectare parcel of south-facing vines perched at 300 meters above sea level on the slope of the hill of Béru. The soil is a mix of clay and limestone peppered with fossilised oyster shells that remind us that Chablis was once covered by a warm sea some 150 million years ago. "It is the combination of this unique terroir, geology and climate that makes this wine completely unique," says Athénaïs.
2018 was a comparatively warmer year than 2017, making this vintage more approachable earlier. The saline freshness and minerality makes this a delicious bottle to enjoy with a pile of shellfish straight from the sea, or some lemon and herb roast chicken enjoyed on a cooler evening.
Our library stock of Clos Béru Monopole can be found here, including some magnificent magnums (see opposite!).
"We don't aim to control the taste we want nature to express itself"
Jamais deux sans trois...
Also new to join us are three unique cuvées from 2019 with their distinctive individuality inherently linked to the soil from which they came.
The Montserre plot, owes its name to the “Serres”, a geological formation of huge limestone plates found nearby. Located at high altitude, at the top of the appellation, the vines here are exposed wind on all four sides, though a border of trees filled with nesting birds somewhat protects and enhances the micro ecosystem here. Montserre wines are nervous, dry, powerful, and express the strength and harshness of nature.
Orangerie is a half-hectare plot, located on the top of the hill of Béru. This clos, whose walls are built from the old ramparts of the castle, is located on an island of clay, spread on top of Kimmeridgian bedrock. Protected from the wind and facing South, the Clos de l'Orangerie enjoys a special, more friendly, micro-climate resulting in bright citrus aromas with bitter notes and an ample palate.
2019 "Côte aux Prêtres"
This plot takes its name from its proximity to an old pilgrimage route, leading from Vézelay to Compostela. The vines grow on a gentle slope exposed to a permanent moderate wind with soil composed of limestone scree filled with crystals and minerals. The wines from the Côte aux Prêtres are distinguished by their salinity, maturity, and concentration.
"All of our vines are on the same hill, but they have different expositions, compositions of limestone, all of these details will have an impact and make different styles of wines."
From Athénaïs herself...
We're also delighted to have the following new releases in hand, though probably not for long!
2019 "Saint Bris"
This Sauvignon Blanc grows right by the village of Saint Bris, on vines that are at 200m altitude giving this bottle great depth and minerality.
2019 "Bourgogne Rosé"
Grown from vines perched on the hillside facing south-east, these Pinot Gris are reflective of their nutritious chalk and flint soils.
2020 VDF "Amalgamay"
This is an unusual and refreshing blend of Gamay from Beaujolais and Aligoté from Saint Bris. The Aligoté brings a unique freshness to this delicious Gamay blend and the 2020 vintage is one of the best expressions yet.
2019 "Cote d'Auxerre"
Also from vines grown by the village of Saint Bris, this is a Pinot Noir with great structure - thanks to the limestone and clay soils beneath it - and an even greater texture - and that's thanks to the gentle pressing it receives.
The best connection among people all around the world, from different civilisations, cultures, countries, is sharing a glass of wine…
"We want to share our philosophy, that there is not just 'one Chablis' but several different wines from the Chablis region - we aim to fight against the 'standardisation' of the appellation. Each wine has something to say - its own energy, character and profile. This is the main thing to know about us!"
- Athénaïs de BéruShop Wines
Photo credit Benoit Guenot Monopole Magazine.