Since 1768, in the quaint Beaujolais town Saint-Étienne-des-Ouillières, a stone’s throw south of the iconic Côte de Brouilly, the Harel family have been tending farmland & cultivating grape vines fit for wine with a remarkable freshness, lighter style for this slightly southerly clime. The current custodian of the estate is Quentin, now bottling under his own name after a first solo vinification in 2012. Considered one of the quietly rising stars in the Beaujolais, his wines have garnered a following for their understated, subtle beauty paired with consistent execution. No pyrotechnics here, just damn good wine over and over again. Parts of the story behind this character of the wines lie in both the unique terroir of the Buis-Rond holdings as well as the personality of the man himself. First, it does not hurt that these vines have been organically cultivated for many decades, with the official certification coming in the mid-late ‘90s when the vines were still farmed by his parents. Secondly, relating still to the vines, the soil composition in which they grow is not the famed pink granite of the various crus; rather, it is a seemingly rare combination of clay, sand, & flint which yield slightly less concentrated fruit. In this way, the Gamay here is particularly well-adjusted to early drinking though by no means do the wines lack character; they simply don’t take on the deeper, gamey, more phenolically-concentrated aspect that many southern Beaujolais-grown-on-granite Gamays that require years of aging or hours (and hours) of decanting if drinking young. All of this is to say, Quentin is an expert young maker in a special, slightly-off-the-beaten-path area of the Beaujolais dealing with a perfect cross-section of old-vines, a robust & healthy soil, time & curiosity. One to watch!
100% Gamay from Quentin Harel, a supremely talented new face in Beaujolais. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented whole cluster in cement tank. Aged for 1 year in a mix of cement and enamel tank. Unfined, unfiltered, no SO2. This is Beaujolais at its most fresh, delicate and gluggable.