Charly Thévenet | Beaujolais
Growing up as the son of Beaujolais’ famous Jean-Paul Thévenet, a member of the notorious “Gang of Four”, Charly learnt the trade at a very young age. Gaining extensive experience helping his father, and working in Marcel Lapierre’s winery, he purchased a parcel of eighty-year-old vines in Régnié, west-southwest of his hometown of Villié-Morgon. We visited Charly in 2018 and found a quiet, considered man who had firm opinions about Gamay and the region in general. He prefers whole-bunch ferments of ripe, heavily sorted fruit, at low temperatures, with no filtration. He farms his 3ha vineyard biodynamically, and produces less than 600 cases.
Charly during our visit in 2019
A local boy through and through, Charly Thévenet was born and brought up in the region, nurtured in the credo of traditional winemaking by his father Jean-Paul and by Marcel Lapierre, for whom he worked for a while. ‘Their basic principles were the use of natural yeast (and consequently no chemicals in the vineyard) and to harvest ripe fruit – and for the wines I like it would be impossible to do anything else,’ he says. In 2007 he bought a 3ha vineyard in Régnié, running the tiny domaine separately from his father’s in Morgon, while at the same time working alongside him. From this year the two will be amalgamated as Jean-Paul retires. Charly now vinifies with whole bunches at low temperatures. ‘The technique works in the Beaujolais with our old vines as you get the fruit and the notion of terroir,’ he explains. Like his father he is a recognised figure in the region, but outside discreet and adverse to publicity.
- Decanter Magazine, 2018
2018 Grain & Granit Régnié (arriving Spring 2019)
Vine age: 75 years on average
Density: 10,000 vines/ha
Yield: 20 hl/ha
Soil type: granitic soil
Wine growing: certified organic
Vinification/aging: maceration of 3 weeks; 1 year of aging 50% concrete tank & 50% Burgundy barrels; racking; 15-20mg of CO2; unfiltered
Tasting notes: beautiful brilliance and limpid ruby color; very expressive and fresh nose with notes of acidic red fruits, currant and wild strawberry, as well as some minerality; a perfect balance in the mouth, with a dynamic acidity revealing hints of wild berries, with a wild herbaceous side.
The 2018: It’s like velvet. The wines will extract their color and structure through long maceration. They’re round and silky, but also thick and concentrated. The tannins are fine and elegant.
2017 Grain & Granit Régnié (sold out)
- Gamay grapes are grown on granite soil. The vinification takes place at low temperature of 10°C with indigenous yeast with a following maceration of 3 weeks. Time is left to work its magic and the only intervention is a twice-weekly analysis that monitors the wine’s evolution. The wine is aged for 1 year in 50% concrete vats & 50% Burgundy barrels, already used for 3 vintages, before the wine is racked and bottled without filtration or fining. No sulphur is added.
- The wine displays an attractive, bright, clear ruby colour, with a fresh nose of tart red fruits, cranberry and wild strawberry. The palate is perfectly balanced and elegant with a lively acidity and notes of forest fruits and wild herbs.