Domaine de Bel Air perches over the Ardieres Valley as it has for nearly 170 years, from the top of Bel-Air Hill overlooking Beaujeu, the historic capital of the Beaujolais region. Winemaker Jean-Marc Lafont and his wife Annick have been running the estate since 1985.
By keeping with tradition and staying in tune with the terroir of the region, they seek to produce highly expressive wines that balance tradition and modern practices. Owing to the steep vineyard slopes (20 to 38% grade), almost all vineyard work is done by hand.
For the past five years, the domaine has followed integrated vine growing techniques which require a great deal of observation and vine inspection, thus enabling avoidance of systemic treatments. The average vine age in the Beaujolais-Villages is 50 years.
Winemaking is traditional semi-carbonic with each terroir vinified individually in low-capacity vats in order to obtain homogenous wines that are true to type. One of the only concessions made to modern winemaking has been the use of temperature control, which, like the semi-carbonic maceration, is employed to retain the distinct flavors and aromas.
Following alcoholic fermentation, the wines are racked into large oak vats where malolactic fermentation takes place and the wines mature slowly.
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Beaujolais, Moulin-a-Vent – Jean-Marc Lafont£191.40 Per Case (Ex VAT) Equiv price per bottle £15.95 (ex VAT)
Just 300 vinegrowers hold the key to the most prestigious of the Beaujolais Crus. Moulin-a-Vent vineyards are only to be found on the communes of Romanèche-Thorins in the Saône-et-Loire department and Chénas in the Rhône department. From its shimmering deep ruby to dark garnet robe come floral and fruity aromas of violet and cherry in its youth, taking on a stamp of iris, spice, ripe fruit and overblown rose, to truffle and even game as the years go by. Well-built and complex, Moulin-à-Vent is a cellaring wine par excellence, up to 10 years depending on the vintage. Fed by pink, crumbly granitic arena, here called gore or grès that is shot through with seams of the manganese that is at the root of its personality, Moulin-à-Vent is an intense and tannic wine. It is said of this Cru, like for the other more robust Beaujolais Crus, that it “pinotes”, coming close in characteristics to its Burgundian neighbours though the cherry personality of their grape variety.
Chiroubles ~ Domaine de Bel Air£174.00 Per Case (Ex VAT) Equiv price per bottle £14.50 (ex VAT)
On one of the highest points in Beaujolais, the 36 hectare estate is considered one of the best sources for Chiroubles. It produces delicate and elegant wines, with a fragrance of violets. The wine can be drunk young and at any time of the day.
Fleurie ‘Granits Roses’ ~ Domaine de Bel Air£191.40 Per Case (Ex VAT) Equiv price per bottle £15.95 (ex VAT)
Aged in oak, giving more intensity to the wine – the vines used are over twenty-five years old. A light to medium bodied wine which matches many light cuisine and chicken dishes.
Grape Variety: Gamay
Aromas: Raspberries, Strawberry Jam
Fleurie ‘Granits Rose’ ~ Domaine de Bel Air – ( 6 Magnums per case)£195.00 Per Case (Ex VAT) Equiv price per bottle £32.50 (ex VAT)
Aged in oak, giving more intensity to the wine – the vines used are over twenty-five years old. A light to medium bodied wine which matches many light cuisine and chicken dishes. Celebrate this wonderful wine in magnum format!
Grape Variety: Gamay
Aromas: Blackberry, Raspberry, Red Cherries, Strawberry Jam