Pierre and his wife, Cécile have been crafting serious Gamay in the village of Le Bois-d'Oingt at the southern end of Beaujolais, France since 1973. Their son, Guillaume, took over the winemaking in 2007 and is ambitious about expanding their vineyard holdings; currently, they farm 35 acres of primarily 50-year-old vines scattered across the appellation from the Golden Stones Region in the south to Lancié and Romanèche-Thorins in the north. The vineyards of Domaine Les Gryphées offer a variety of soil types and thus, the estate produces an impressively wide range of terroir-driven wines including two ‘Cru Beaujolais’ (the highest category of classification in the region which distinguishes wines produced from 10 distinct hillside areas), several different Beaujolais AOC (which they also produce to highlight specific terroirs), a Beaujolais Village, a Beaujolais Blanc produced from Chardonnay, a Gamay Rosé and a couple of sparkling wines as well. Gryphées translates to ‘seashell fossils’ which dominate the soils in the ‘Moulin à Vent’ Cru, imparting a mineral-rich character to the Domaine’s most celebrated wine. Yet beyond their Cru bottlings which also includes a Chénas, the Domaine’s basic Beaujolais AOC wines (which include this ‘Le Paquet’ we have selected for club) showcase carefully selected fruit from prime vineyard sites and are certainly not lacking in complexity, structure and finesse.
‘Le Paquet’ translates to ‘a parcel’ and signifies the Domaine’s focus on crafting wines from distinct terroirs throughout Beaujolais. This 100% Gamay was sourced from sandy, clay-rich soils on steep hillside vineyards at an altitude of 1,050 feet and higher. The resulting wine is more structured and densely layered than your typical Beaujolais AOC and offers lively aromatics of candied strawberry, pomegranate jam, bing cherry and violets. The light to medium-bodied palate which is lush and juicy exhibits a tinge of minerality alongside notes of white pepper and anise. This is not a wimpy Gamay, but one with some oomph and a whole lot of character that would go great with barbecued chicken or a juicy burger!