DOMAINE THILLARDON, Paul-Henri et Charles Thillardon, Chénas Organic
‘Wonderful floral, elegant Beaujolais with fresh delicate red cherry and raspberry fruits accompanied by just enough grip. Plain roast organic chicken, pork chops in a creamy sauce or dishes featuring roast butternut squash.’ John Wilson, Irish Times, April 2020
‘Contemporary Beaujolais is rife with opportunity – overlooked terroirs, abandoned vines, appellations ripe for rehabilitation. But few young vignerons have committed to such ambitious challenges as Paul-Henri and Charles Thillardon, who have positioned themselves as the future of Beaujolais’ smallest, sleepiest cru, Chénas.
After graduating with a BTS viti-oeno from the Lycée Bel-Air, Paul-Henri says his initial, outmoded goal was to make all ten crus. Much has changed since he founded the domaine in 2008. “We even used selected yeast, our first year,” he says. “Because I didn’t know how to make natural wine, I’d never seen it in my life, and I’d never drunk it.”
Then in 2009 he met Fleurie winemakerJean-Louis Dutraive, a lynchpin of the Fleurie natural winemaking scene who himself had just attained organic certification for his own domaine. “He was the most open,” says Paul-Henri, citing Dutraive as introducing him to the aesthetics of natural Beaujolais.
Gradually, as his domaine has grown to its present 12ha, Paul-Henri’s winemaking has aligned with those of his mentors. 2015 is the first year he’s aimed for long, cool semi-carbonic macerations, refrigerating the harvest for the first time, and vinifying entirely whole-cluster.
The Thillardon brothers hail from Frontenas, in the south of Beaujolais, where their father still grows vines. Paul-Henri founded the domaine in 2008, with his brother Charles, who formerly raised cows, joining him officially in 2014.’
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(Their sister Aude and third brother Baptiste are now also working in the Domaine.)
Chénas ‘Coup Double’ comes from a lieu-dit called ‘Papolet’, the soil consists of granit and quartz, whole bunch carbonic maceration for 16 days, no remontage, no pigeage as to gently infuse the fruit with its juice, avoiding harsh extraction. The name ‘Coup Double’ is an homage to Paul-Henri’s twins who were born in 2018.