2009 Charly Thevenet, Regnie “Grain & Granit” Cru Beaujolais, France.
I featured this wine upon release, and stuck a few bottles away to explore later with this one my last and opened almost a full decade from when I first tried it and it was glorious with excellent detail and perfect maturity on display still, remarkable stuff, especially considering I hadn’t really thought about cellaring this and it saw less than ideal conditions for aging. I had been a big Cru Beaujolais fan fan prior to the vintage of the century, 2009, as I was converted by Kermit Lynch in the early 2000s, when he introduced me to fabulous wines from Thivin, Diochon, Thevenet (Charly’s dads), Foillard, Breton and of course the late great Marcel Lapierre. But for the rest of the wine world, the 2009 vintage changed everything for the Beaujolais region, these flamboyant and insanely rich Gamay wines had their breakout moment, and it also marked a generational change, with the spotlight coming down on some of the youthful talents, including the young Charly Thevenet, who debuted his own label just before this exceptional vintage. His wine, from a lesser known Cru – Regnie, and called Grain & Granit made a brilliant start for his start up label and Kermit Lynch brought a bunch of it and I was able to one of the first in California to try it. I originally was impressed and gave it 93 Points, and I am still impressed, it has remained fantastically solid in structure and has not lost any of its charm over the years with macerated strawberries, candied cherries and plum fruit still going strong, though with the signs of age melding them together and showing a touch of baked raspberry preserves, fig paste and dried potpourri along with some delicate dusty spices and earthiness. The year’s low acidity and heady ripe fruit is clear and present, but this wine has held up well and there is a gorgeous silken mouth feel, much like an aged Burgundy. This ruby/brick hued effort hints at its age, but is a fine, well crafted Regnie has survived my terrible abuse (bad cellaring, all my own doing) and delivered a stunning performance, I can’t wait to get a few of Charly’s newest releases.

As noted by Kermit Lynch, Charly, growing up the son of a famous “Gang of Four” Morgon producer in the legendary form of Jean-Paul Thévenet, the young Thévenet was exposed quite early on to traditional, Jules Chauvet inspired natural viticulture—a philosophy that his father and friends, Jean Foillard, Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton helped to resurrect in Beaujolais in the early eighties, working with organic grapes, whole cluster, native yeasts and no chemical additions. Though only in his twenties, Charly had already started, what Lynch, one of the most renown talent spotters, especially in the Beaujolais area, calls a dynamic career with stints with the family winery and experience under the guidance of Marcel Lapierre, who gave him some added confidence and maybe a few secrets. He purchased a parcel of eighty-year-old Gamay vines in Régnié, west-southwest of his hometown of Villié-Morgon to set out on his own and start on his own path, now ten years on he has re-joined his family winey, taking over as well as continuing on with this personal project which has developed a serious following. Régnié is a terroir enjoying something of its own renaissance in recent years, especially Julien Sunier’s example, as well as other talented growers like Charly, and his dad’s long time friend, Guy Breton. In fact, Regnié has joined the short list of Grand Crus in the Beaujolais, according to Kermit Lynch again, it is wonderfully located on a plateau of seabed stone, making it unique, in the foothills of the Côte du Py, which it noted to give a fruit forward, but with lively acidity, maybe less granite intense than other Crus. Charly uses biodynamic farming techniques in the vineyard, never adding synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides to the vines, and like Lapierre, he harvests late, with an aggressive sorting of the grapes, adds minimal doses of sulfur dioxide. The natural fermentation starts in cement and Thevenet then ages the wine in used Burgundy barriques, he and bottles his wines unfiltered, if you love Gamay and or Cru Beaujolais, you should search out Domaine Thevenet Morgon and Charly’s own Regnie, these are rewarding beauties!
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

PS: 2009 Charly Thevenet: Grapelive Original Review

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