La Soeur Cadette Chénas 2018
The persistent risk of frost, hail, disease, or an unforeseen combination thereof over the last few years has forced many French winemakers to get creative, and Valentin Montanet is just the kind of scrappy vigneron who thrives under pressure. A case of nasty frost in Vézelay? You’d sooner find Valentin in a refrigerated truck headed south to buy grapes than mourning the diminished harvests in his own vineyards. “Since I’m a Burgundian making Beaujolais now, I had to find a place of my own,” he says, explaining his choice of the rarest cru in Beaujolais, Chénas. The vines are such antiques, even the grower can’t remember when they were planted. (“As long as I’ve owned them, they’ve been old,” he told Valentin.) Vinified whole-cluster and bottled unfiltered, this solid cuvée packs a powerful, structured punch balanced by ripe black fruit and approachable tannins.