Domaine du Penlois Expérience 2009 & Chardonnay du Châtelard 2011, Burgundy, France

Meeting passionate wine makers is a thrill that never gets old. I met with the Bessons from the Domaine du Penlois who operate in the Beaujolais region. I never got around to their Gamays though, because I got happily stuck on two of their Chardonnays. The 2011 Chardonnay du Châtelard (CdC) and the ’09 Expérience were both real treats.


Style-wise they have some characteristics that may lead you to believe they came from a cooler climate, fresh at first and quickly gaining some friendly creamy textures. Mix that with ripe fruit from a relatively warmer region in Beaujolais – and you have a couple of very nice whites.


The 2011 CdC smelled of apples and small floral notes, into the gulp the texture was rounded and voluminous, not heavy. The apple scent gave way to tarter pear in the mouth as well. Great fruit, delicious wine.


The Expérience, was quite an experience. Older and wooded, this wine challenged the idea of a Beaujolais white as being an unambitious wine. Great structure which wrapped some of their apple notes into a lovely virtual pastry. The wood gave depth, and the great grape harvest of 2009 contributed nice ripe fruit. Good stuff!


Musical Matches: Judy Collins sings Ian Tyson’s “Someday Soon.” Her crisp and clear voice bring life to the cold-weather Canadian song writer’s words and make this song quite beautiful.


PJ Harvey, kicks in more attitude than Collins does, but ultimately expresses herself with on the same subject, Love. So as much as these wines are are quite different – they speak to the same subject with powerful words. It is nice to see that women have a voice in rock and roll, hopefully we will get to hear more about what Beaujolais has to say about white wine in the near future. An appropriate place to start would be hearing more of what the Besson family are producing from the Domaine du Penlois.

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