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Edouard et Armand au visite au Château du Moulin-à-Vent

The Connivence 2019 vintage

Posted by Armand Heitz on

Looking back on a day of development

It was by reading the article on the Connivence cuvée that I was able to discover its origin and the first two vintages made by Armand with Alex Foillard and Aurélien Febvre. When Armand asked me to attend this 2019 vintage development day in early fall, I accepted with great pleasure.

So I'm taking you with me to meet Édouard Parinet at the Château du Moulin-à-vent, with whom this third vintage will be made.

L'entrée du Château du Moulin-à-Vent

A visit to the Castle

The meeting is given in the early morning in Chassagne-Montrachet to reach the north of Beaujolais, through granite mountains and valleys. Château de Moulin-à-Vent is located in the heart of the eponymous appellation, just a few meters from the emblematic mill.

Armand has previously selected a sample which will be intended for blending with a sample from Moulin-à-Vent. The two winegrowers will choose the latter together, which will make it possible to obtain the Connivence 2019 cuvée. This first step is crucial in determining the style of wine they will give to this cuvée.

It is with joy that I discover this part of Beaujolais, its history, its complex soils of granite sands and its culture. We are welcomed by Édouard who makes us discover his beautiful building dating from the beginning of the 19th century and the vineyards that surround it.

The Château du Moulin-à-Vent estate covers 30 hectares of vines spread over around a hundred small plots, exclusively in the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, legendary in the Beaujolais region. It is also one of the major organizers of the Jazz in Moulin-à-Vent festival which takes place every year to promote the great wines of Moulin-à-Vent around jazz-wine pairings.

As a bonus, a good lesson on the terroirs, a significant moment to enrich my knowledge.

The visit ends with the discovery of the 17th century vaulted cellars which contain the barrels of the last vintage aligned to perfection. Édouard then invites us to taste a few cuvées on barrels to soak up the spirit of his wines, in the presence of the estate's manager, Brice Laffond.

Dégustation dans la cave voûtée du Château

Dégustation sur fût des dernières cuvées

After this beautiful moment of exchange, the work of selecting the two winegrowers begins, this is the first time that I have witnessed this. Silence sets in and the two winegrowers, as well as the manager, begin the blind tasting. Everyone smells, tastes, writes their notes on each sample pre-selected by Édouard. You might think you are watching a ballet of classical dance as the gestures are controlled and regular.

Armand, Édouard and Brice come to the end of their tasting and share their impressions. The common objective is clear, to produce a Connivence cuvée which allows people to discover Gamay in another form, to bring together the expression of each terroir in the same bottle.

La dégustation à l'aveugle commence

Some samples hold particular common attention, it is difficult to decide between them. It is then time to test the blend with the sample that Armand had pre-selected for his domain.

The pairing is simple: 50% Gamay from the Château du Moulin-à-Vent, and 50% Gamay from the Armand Heitz estate.

The blend with some samples leaves more room for the fruit, while others offer more structure, more finesse. Now I am asked my impression of two tests, I did not expect it. Amateur but not a connoisseur, the words are hesitant but my preference is still for a refined alliance with an elegant structure.

After a few debates and adjustments, we are there, the Connivence cuvée expresses itself fully!

Cave du Château Moulin à Vent Beaujolais

Time to share

The Connivence 2019 cuvée is taking shape, a bottling date is mentioned. I can't wait to taste it when it comes out.

Édouard invites us to come over for lunch to share a friendly moment in the middle of the vats, another first for me!

Cheeses, charcuterie, terrines, a meal without a change of scenery for the Lyonnais that I am. With this meal, we have the opportunity to taste Armand's New Beaujolais and beautiful bottles straight from Edouard's cellar, simply a treat. We will taste among others a Mâcon-Solutré and a Pouilly-Fuissé from the Domaine du Roc des Boutires, without forgetting the cuvées Connivence 2017, Connivence 2018, and Juliénas 2019 from Armand Heitz.

It's time to leave, Édouard walks us home and offers us each a few bottles and jars of honey from the estate. Enough to end the day in the best possible way.

One thing is certain, winegrowers know the meaning of the word sharing and know how to receive. To be done again with great pleasure. For Connivance 2020?


Theo Troncy

Photographs: @jibpeter

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