Beaujolais is perhaps the most dynamic wine region in France today. Beaujolais is a sub-region in Burgundy, but unlilke its more famous cousins in the north that uses Pinot Noir for its red, Gamay predominates in this region.
The vineyards of Beaujolais are in the top south of Burgundy, around the city of Villefranche-sur-Saone, on the right bank of the Saone river.
The Beaujolais produce different appellations like Beaujolais Villages or the infamous Beaujolais Nouveau which has given this region an unsavoury reputation. But Beaujolais also produces some amazing wines in its 10 Crus: Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Brouilly, Regnie and Cotes-de-Brouilly.
Domaine de la Bonne Tonne (the name means “The Good Barrel”), owned by Thomas and Anne-Laure Grillet, is a 7th generation, owner operated, natural wine making property.
Thomas and Anne have chosen to eschew the requests of the Beaujolais negociants to “thermovinify” their wine. Thomas and Anne-Laure prefers to harvest by hand and plow, rather than using machines. They use little manipulation in the cellar, resulting in wines that reflect “place” – small plots, thoughtfully tended by hand. La Bonne Tonne farms less than 5 hectares of vines and maintains an organic vegetable farm and a small bakery.
Certified Organic since 2006, La Bonne Tonne is undergoing Biodynamic Certification; all of its wines use native yeasts, fermentation happens spontaneously.
Christophe Pacalet learned winemaking during his younger years with Marcel Lapierre, his uncle, who is considered as the “pope” of the Beaujolais. After some experiences in biochemistry and In the kitchen of few restaurants, Christophe Pacalet decided to create his own wine estate in 1999 with the help of his famous uncle and named it the Domaine Les Marcellins.
As an architect, he selected the best plots of old vines from all Beaujolais region and cultivated them exactly as he wanted, all the while respecting the environment in order to obtain the best grapes and wines.
The result is a range of wines from Beaujolais Villages to almost all the Crus that are produced with his own style: purity, fruit forward and enjoyability