Chénas is named after chênaies, the dense oak forests which blanketed the Beaujolais region before Philippe V ordered them all to be cut down to make room for grapevines. Today, the vineyards of Chénas cover just 237ha, the lowest production cru in Beaujolais. Soils are mainly granite, with some areas of schist and fertile alluvial clay. Granite and Gamay go hand in hand as granite contains lots of quartz; quartz soils are generally poor (great for vines), drain really well and, most importantly, when rain meets quartz you get silicic acid. Acid is good for Gamay. It stimulates deep root growth and – counterintuitively – keeps grape acidity in check.
Deep and beetroot-stained, the palate is reminiscent of ripe Victoria plums; plush with a gorgeous velvety texture, pleasantly cleansing tannins and an uplifting, crisp finish.
Salads - especially with chicken or bacon (think frisée with lardons) - with pomegranate seeds, dried cherries or cranberries. Also works well with a full-flavoured goats cheese.
Sommelier Wine Awards 2017