Wines by Region / Beaujolais / Domaine de Colette
Domaine de Colette, Beaujolais
Domaine de Colette is located in the small village of Lantignié, regarded as the top village in the cru of Regnié, and less than 1 kilometer from the border of Morgon. It is owned and run by the humble Jacky Gauthier (with his wife Evelyne), whose family has been making wine for several generations. It was his father René who officially created Domaine de Colette in 1953. Gauthier began studying enology in the late 1970’s at the tender age of 17, planning to work with his parents’ on their then 8 hectares of vineyards. Meanwhile, in 1980 he got an offer from an uncle to help him work his vineyard, which he gladly accepted, and in 1984 was able to buy that vineyard and make wine from both family vineyards. His father passed away a decade later and he created one domaine encompassing all the family vineyards.
Gauthier has enlarged his property by nearly a third since we began working with him 15 years ago, having purchased additional vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin- à-Vent, thus bringing his total holdings to 14 hectares of vines. He now makes wines in Beaujolais-Villages as well as 4 crus (his home cru of Regnié, plus Morgon, Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent). His son Alexandre appears to be waiting in the wings as the next generation, as he is currently studying viticulture and enology.
The soils at Colette are worked organically in an effort to promote healthy and vigorous root systems. Only vegetable-based fertilizers are used. They shallow-plow between the vines during plant dormancy to force the roots down into the subsoil (and thus hopefully take on more of the terroir characteristics of each cru). They limit vine treatments during the year and intervene only when completely necessary. A green harvest is performed to give more concentrated grapes. Harvest is by hand, and only healthy grape clusters are emptied into the tank.
Jacky works prudently, limiting yields in his vineyards with his old vines, spraying only when the health of the plants is at risk, using a pied de cuve to begin fermentation, and aging the wine in neutral, cement tanks.
The result, with each and every wine, is a delicious mouthful of ripe Gamay, whose granite soils provide minerality and whose excellent exposure allows the burst of the Beaujolais fruit we know and love.
Domaine de Colette Beaujolais-Villages “Coteaux de Colette”
This comes from steep pink granite vineyards with an average age of 45 years—but one of the plots, called Colette, is 80 years old. The grapes undergo carbonic maceration followed by a gentle pressing. A pleasant ruby-red color, this wine presents small red fruit aromas and flavors in its youth, but over time these evolve into surprisingly complex ripe, even jammy, fruit flavors. Excellent companion to charcuterie, red meat or local cheeses.
Domaine de Colette Vieilles Vignes Regnié
Regnié, known as the fruitiest of the Beaujolais crus, is located just south of Morgon and north of Brouilly. There (Colette’s home cru) the domaine has vines on pink granite with an average age of 55 years (though one plot is over 80 years old). Grapes are harvested manually, and undergo carbonic maceration before being pressed. The wine is then aged in cement vats before bottling.
Colette’s old vine release exemplifies the forward, explosive aromas of Regnié and Colette itself. Its attractive ruby red color is what you first notice, followed by lovely notes of raspberry, strawberry and roses. A beautiful wine that can partner well with charcuterie, andouillette, white meats, red mullet fish and creamy cheeses.
Domaine de Colette Fleurie
Fleurie is a northerly cru located next to Moulin-à-Vent. Soils are granitic and alluvial, and Colette’s vines have an average age of 50 years. Their grapes are harvested manually, and undergo carbonic maceration before being pressed. The wine is then aged in cement vats for 6 months before bottling.
Like many wines from this delightful cru, Colette’s version delivers floral (of course fleur means flower in French) notes of violet, iris and rose, along with fruity aromas/flavors of red fruit, blackcurrant and peach. Delicious with pigeon, country pate, leg of lamb or fresh goats cheese.
Domaine de Colette Morgon
Jacky and Evelyne have been using a modern label of their top Morgon cuvée from a parcel called Charme, but we prefer their classic label, so we have them bottle the wine with something more traditional. This wine comes from a single plot of 80 year-old vines planted on south facing schist slopes. The grapes, after a strict selection, are vinified by carbonic maceration then aged in cement tanks before being bottled.
Apart from the remarkable minerality imparted by the schist soils here, this is a bounty of ripe red fruit. This perfect balance not only makes it a great food wine (think coq au vin, game meats and mature cheeses) but makes it interesting to cellar a few bottles and see where it goes.
Domaine de Colette Moulin à Vent "Le Mont"
If Fleurie’s “feminine” aspect has caused it to be known as the “queen” of the Beaujolais crus, Moulin-à-Vent could be seen as the “king”. Its powerful minerality almost overrides the bright Gamay fruit the rest of the region is known for. Colette’s version comes from a south-southeast oriented old-vine vineyard (average age: 70 years old) sitting on manganese-rich granite soils. After a manual harvest and rigorous sorting, 70% of the grapes are destemmed and undergo carbonic maceration before being pressed and aged in cement tanks for 9 months.
Ruby-red, this wine has fascinating aromas of iris and rose, as well as spices and ripe red fruits. The same flavors continue on the palate, supported by a great minerality and silky tannins. Perhaps because of this profile, this is our most popular restaurant wine from the Colette lineup, and indeed it can be poured alongside strip steak, game meats and mature cheeses.