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Domaine Chermette

Artisanal Beaujolais “…Among the Finest Values that can be Found in French Wine.” [William Kelley]

The late Marcel Lapierre once said of Beaujolais: “Ça se bois sous la douche”. Translation: It’s a wine to drink under the shower. While this captures the simple deliciousness of much Beaujolais, it doesn’t do justice to the wines being produced by the finest artisans like Pierre-Marie Chermette. Of the wines of this grower, we would be more likely to say, “Il est trop bon pour être bu sous la douche!” (It’s too damn good to be drunk in the shower!). Beaujolais can be the most joyful, compelling and life-affirming of wines. Yet in the hands of a master, it can also be a wonderfully refined, long-lived Burgundy. Domaine du Vissoux is a producer capable of fashioning such wines. This is why they can be found in many of France’s finest restaurants and why Vissoux remains one of the highest-rated Beaujolais producers in the leading French wine guide, Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France.

These are bottles that Burgundy lovers should load up on—they deliver the pleasure of many a village-level wine for a fraction of the price.

The old vine, wild ferment, unchapitalised and unfiltered Beaujolais from this touchstone producer have been over-delivering since the ‘80s. In those first decades, his wines helped raise the bar considerably and left a lasting influence on the region. Owners Pierre-Marie and Martine Chermette were among the first in Beaujolais to use sustainable agricultural practices, shunning the use of any chemicals in the vineyard and encouraging as much life in the soil as possible. They prune hard to keep yields low, harvest by hand when the grapes are fully ripe and regularly carry out green harvests to further reduce the yields and ensure full ripeness for the harvest. The wines are made with minimal intervention: wild yeasts, minimal sulphur additions and no filtering if possible. Aging is in traditional up-to-the-ceiling, neutral oak casks.

Not only do the Chermettes produce outstanding Beaujolais from the Crus of Moulin à Vent, Brouilly and Fleurie, but they also make some of France’s most highly regarded Crème de Cassis from their own fruit. If there is finer cassis made anywhere in the world, we have not tasted it! And now Pierre-Marie is producing some Crémant Blanc de Blancs which, as expected, is superb (otherwise he would not do it)!

It’s rare to see Pierre-Marie without a smile on his face and similarly, this affable grower’s wines are crammed with the same kind of sparkle and joie de vivre that greets visitors to Chermette’s Saint-Vérand Domaine. And why shouldn’t he be happy? Pierre-Marie Chermette has close to forty successful vintages under his belt, and he has recently been joined by their son Jean-Étienne, ensuring Chermette’s star will continue to shine among the brightest in Beaujolais. 

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Domaine Chermette Crémant de Bourgogne Brut NV

Domaine Chermette Crémant de Bourgogne Brut NV

This cracking dry sparkling wine is 100% Chardonnay from a single parcel of vines just north of the Chermette cellars at a place called Le Bois-d’Oingt. It’s a 2.5-hectare southwest-facing site on limestone/clay soil, so perfect for Chardonnay. The wine ages for 18 months in bottle, minimum sulphur is used, it is neither fined nor filtered and very little dosage liqueur is added (4 g/L). Already the story is ahead of the vast majority of Champagne these days!This shipment is a blend of 2018, 2019 and 2020 and is showing creamier, lemon-curd intensity and more length than previous bottlings—perhaps due to the low yields and warmer vintages involved. There are well-pitched notes of pear, citrus, chamomile, toasted hazelnuts and subtle buttery brioche, while the palate is vinous and focused, balanced by stony acidity. We love the fine, airy bubbles in this wine as well as its fresh, sculpted energy and finesse. If you don’t know this wine, do yourself a favour; French sparkling wine this impressive, and at this price, does not grow on trees. This shipment is a blend of 2018, 2019 and 2020 and is showing creamier, lemon-curd intensity and more length than previous bottlings—perhaps due to the low yields and warmer vintages involved. There’s well-pitched notes of pear, citrus, chamomile, toasted hazelnuts and subtle buttery brioche, while the palate is vinous and focused, balanced by stony acidity. We love the fine, airy bubbles in this wine as well as its fresh, sculpted energy and finesse. If you don’t know this wine, do yourself a favour: French sparkling wine this impressive and at this price does not grow on trees.

This shipment is a blend of 2018, 2019 and 2020 and is showing creamier, lemon-curd intensity and more length than previous bottlings—perhaps due to the low yields and warmer vintages involved. There’s well-pitched notes of pear, citrus, chamomile, toasted hazelnuts and subtle buttery brioche, while the palate is vinous and focused, balanced by stony acidity. We love the fine, airy bubbles in this wine as well as its fresh, sculpted energy and finesse. If you don’t know this wine, do yourself a favour: French sparkling wine this impressive and at this price does not grow on trees.

Domaine Chermette Crémant de Bourgogne Brut NV
Domaine Chermette Beaujolais Les Griottes 2022

Domaine Chermette Beaujolais Les Griottes 2022

Chermette’s entry-level Beaujolais is drawn from 30- to 40-year-old vines grown on dark granite soils around the homestead in Saint-Vérand (in southern Beaujolais). The winemaking has remained unchanged for decades, with traditional whole-bunch, semi-carbonic fermentation in concrete tanks and then maturation in both tank and old oak casks still the order of the day.As opposed to his age-worthy Crus from Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie et al, Chermette’s aim here is to produce something light-to medium-bodied, bright and cherry-fruited with reach-for-another-glass charm. The nose is so exuberant you could be tasting out of barrel, flush with lip-smacking wild-plum fruit flecked by violet florals. The palate tells the same delicious story through waves of vibrant and tangy berries and cherrystone fruit. Love at first sip! There is a strong argument to say this is the best Griottes we have shipped. As always, it is a delicious, moreish wine and fabulous value.

“The perfume fills up the nostrils. It smells good. Appetising. Bright cherry, sweet orange, raspberries. They are on the firm side, crunchy, fresh. Damp earth and violets lay underneath. Then chewy texture with wet clay tannins fills the mouth. It’s just pure cherry juice that makes for an excellent thirst quencher and I’m pretty sure it’s also good for your health.”
91 points, Kasia Sobiesiak, The Wine Front
Domaine Chermette Beaujolais Les Griottes 2022
Pierre-Marie Chermette Crème de Pêche de Vigne au Gingembre

Pierre-Marie Chermette Crème de Pêche de Vigne au Gingembre

The vine peach is another distinctive feature of Burgundy's southern vineyards. It is a small, highly aromatic, white-fleshed peach with a purplish skin, often planted along the lanes leading to the vineyards. This hand-made liqueur is obtained by macerating and distilling Vissoux's organically-grown vine peaches in the finest alcohol, then adding a carefully controlled amount of sugar. Martine Chermette then adds an exotic, spicy touch by infusing the liqueur with fresh ginger root. The colour comes exclusively from the fruit; no artificial colours (or flavours) are added - so the colour may vary depending on the bottling. In a word: delicious!

The colour comes exclusively from the fruit; no artificial colours (or flavours) are added - so the colour may vary depending on the bottling. In a word: delicious!

Pierre-Marie Chermette Crème de Pêche de Vigne au Gingembre
Domaine Chermette Beaujolais Origine Vieilles Vignes 2022

Domaine Chermette Beaujolais Origine Vieilles Vignes 2022

Chermette’s emblematic Cuvée Traditionnelle Vieilles Vignes (previously called Vissoux) was first bottled in 1986 at the behest of Jean Brouilly, then Michelin-starred chef of Tarare. It instantly caused a sensation, launching the fame of the Chermette wines and igniting heated debate within the region. Unchaptalised and unfiltered (inadvertently or not), this wild-ferment, low-sulphur, old-vine cuvée sailed over the oceans of bland, homogenised Beaujolais being produced at the time. It also raised the bar considerably for quality, non-Cru Beaujolais, and remains a benchmark.The fruit source is a densely-planted four hectares in Saint-Vérand, with vines rooted in a pocket of dark granite—soil that partly accounts for the wine’s Cru-level depth and minerality. The vine age also helps, ranging from 35 to 85 years. These vines typically produce a considerably plumper and silkier wine than the entry-level Griottes, and in’22 this manifests in an explicitly floral and fleshy release bursting with plump blackberry fruit, lithe, powdery structure and juicy freshness. A wine to brighten the gloomiest of days; the value on offer is off the charts.

“Cherry and red plum, cherry kernels, almond essence, it’s a bit meaty, dense, firm and crunchy, with a savoury finish. It ticks the boxes for sweet and savoury with a right balance, and scratches that Beaujolais itch quite nicely.”
91 points, Kasia Sobiesiak, The Wine Front
Domaine Chermette Beaujolais Origine Vieilles Vignes 2022
Pierre-Marie Chermette Crème de Cassis (500ml)

Pierre-Marie Chermette Crème de Cassis (500ml)

This small-batch, organic cassis liqueur is drawn from estate-grown, Noir de Bourgogne blackcurrants. This local variety of blackcurrant is particular to the Burgundy region and is much smaller and more intensely-flavoured than the common blackcurrant. Vissoux's Crème de Cassis is handmade made from the extract of the blackcurrants that have been macerated in alcohol. It is made without preservatives or colouring and with a limited addition of sugar dissolved directly into the alcoholic juice of the blackcurrant berries at low temperature. Due to the intensity of the aromatics, the deep colour and concentrated flavour, you can serve this in very small quantities. Considered by some in France to be this country's finest example, if there is a better crème de cassis, we have not tasted it.

Due to the intensity of the aromatics, the deep colour and concentrated flavour, you can serve this in very small quantities. Considered by some in France to be this country's finest example, if there is a better crème de cassis, we have not tasted it.

Pierre-Marie Chermette Crème de Cassis (500ml)
Domaine Chermette Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches 2022

Domaine Chermette Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches 2022

Les Trois Roches is named for the three rocky parcels of vines from which it derives—Rochegrès, Roche Noire and Rochelle. The average age of the vines on these sites is now more than 40 years. Pierre-Marie points out that La Rochelle (which overlooks the famous windmill) brings structure, whereas the east-facing Rochegrès contributes finesse and supple tannins, and the Roche Noire grapes bring liveliness and juicy fruit. One of the common features of these sites is the concentration of manganese in the soils, which delivers an unmistakable mineral thread that runs through the wine. Unlike Chermette’s other Crus, the Moulin-à-Vent undergoes a portion of barrique aging (20%), which gives you some idea of the intense personality of this Cru.It's a wonderfully vivacious and aromatic release with a structured, mineral and ferrous intensity that screams of its place. Expect layers of blue fruit and black cherry, a juicy, enveloping texture, delicately mouthcoating tannins and creamy old-vine/low-yield concentration, all underscored by that pungent seam of smoky mineral and long, succulent freshness of the vintage. This serious, grown-up Beaujolais warrants a few years in bottle before broaching, though it does have the balance to be enjoyed with gusto now!

“Smells darker than the Fleurie cru, more ‘masculine’, dare I say it! With blackberries and black cherries in the mix, and a touch of liquorice. Dark earth, dark chocolate with grainy tannins. Black pepper finish. Dark in profile all the way as it seems but still light enough to easily drink a few glasses with no problems whatsoever.”
92 points, Kasia Sobiesiak, The Wine Front
Domaine Chermette Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches 2022
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“Old vines, diligent but traditional vinification and élevage in foudre are the rudiments of the approach. To my palate, some of the cuvées reviewed here number among the finest values that can be found in French wine.” William Kelley, The Wine Advocate 

“Few Beaujolais growers are in a position to pronounce on the region’s different terroirs with the authority of the affable Pierre Chermette.Andrew Jefford, The New France

“From his base in southern Beaujolais, Pierre Chermette has become one of the beacons of Beaujolais quality.” David Schildknecht, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Country

France

Primary Region

Beaujolais

People

Winemakers: Pierre-Marie & Jean-Étienne Chermette

Availability

National

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