"In choosing to drink the Château des Bâchelars' Demeter-certified organic and biodynamic wines, you are doing your part in helping our estate thrive, and we would like to thank you." Alexandra de Vazeilles
PIONEERING WORK & FORWARD-THINKING VIEWS
The Château des Bâchelards vineyard was created by the Benedictine monks of Cluny in around 1100. This was the southernmost monastic vineyard in Burgundy. The vineyard has been certified as organic with the FR-BIO-15 label, certified biodynamic by Demeter and also bears the Biodyvin label. The wines are a reflection of these labels. The grapevines are continguous and surround the château, bordered by hedgerows and our agroforestry project. This all means the estate benefits from a unique and superb biotope.
We are pioneers in the production of organic and biodynamic wines for the Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent and Saint-Amour appellations. We strive to produce local wines in such a way as to respect the terroir and the environment, and we believe that our way of growing our crops is the only way. Our soil has been free from chemicals for over 14 years and that really changes the style of our wines. The wines from this region are often all produced in the same way, on land that has been weeded using chemicals and then yeasted. Not many professionals are able to recognise our wines in a blind tasting, because they are so unique. The Château des Bâchelards' wines are a combination of elegant Burgundy wines and delicious Rhône Valley wines. Our wines are just as spirited as our soils. Today, chemical farming practices (also known as integrated or conventional) are used solely to reduce the cost of production, at the expense of quality and taste, not-to-mention the consequences for humanity!
In the storehouse and during the winemaking process, the estate does not carry out any form of carbonic or semi-carbonic maceration or thermovinification, which are all typical winemaking methods in the Beaujolais, created in the 1970s. For me, these methods do not respect the terroir, and combined with the use of chemicals, can only be destructive. At the Château des Bâchelards, we do not use artificial yeast. The wines have their own identity and are all unique, a perfect reflection of their origin. The estate does not purchase grapes from elsewhere.
The Château des Bâchelards is a pioneering estate in Fleurie for a number of reasons:
- Agroforestry practices in the vineyard, to ensure a balance in the biotope and biodiversity
- The presence of Ouessant sheep on the estate which also fertilise the soils.
- Bees arrived naturally on the estate and a permaculture vegetable garden
- The Château's herbalist, producing biodynamic herbal tea
- Training vines to grow high off the ground using acacia posts, in an effort to produce better quality grapes.
- Very high density (10,000 vine plants per hectare), low yield.
- Very old vines that were selected for their quality, making the Bâchalard vines unique.
- Harvesting by hand, gravity-fed process so the grapes are not damaged.
- Only indigenous yeast is used, otherwise the wines are considered technological wines and not 'terroir'.
- Ageing for 18 to 20 months, as required by our terroir, proof of the superb quality.
- Completely free from chemicals, 100% natural, no carbonic or thermovinification processes.
- Member of the 'Return to Terroir' group, along with the great winegrowing estates in the world that work according to biodynamic farming practices. Member of the 'Vins d'Abbayes' group, certified 'Vignoble & Découvertes' and winner of the wine tourism trophy for the 100 best estates.
- The only Monopole de Fleurie and one of the rare Beaujolais with Le Clos des Bachelards.
- The Bâchelards style is very distinctive, even from the very first vintage wine produced on the estate. I have created a style that can only be found at the Bâchelards estate and its terroir.
THE MONKS NEVER DID THINGS BY CHANCE
Over the centuries, the monks founded the Burgundy vineyard by identifying the best terroirs and creating 'clos' (walled vineyards). The Château des Bâchelards vineyard covers 12 hectares of land, including 7 hectares of continguous vines in Fleurie, set around the château and enclosed by walls, making it look like a garden. Added to this are the Moulin-à-Vent and Saint-Amour vine plots. The grape varieties are native to the area and rare. They are 'Gamays' grapes, using the plural form because there are multiple varieties of the same grapes. Ampelographic research is currently underway at the Château to identify and classify the vines.
FLEURIE: VISION & AMBITION FOR A ONE-OF-A-KIND TERROIR
Growing your own vines and producing wine is an intimate affair. I do not come from a long line of Beaujolais winegrowers and so for me, it is purely by choice that I am working this terroir, as I believe the granite soil of Fleurie is one of the best terroirs in France. Until the late 1970s, the price of Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent, and Saint-Amour wines was higher than Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Margaux wines. Today, the vintage wines from the fifties and sixties are superb, dense, complex and fresh wines that are a perfect reflection of this fantastic terroir.
They originate in the foothills of the Massif Central, from soil that is 350 million years old, made of granite, feldspar, shale, mica-schist, quartz, gneiss, etc. These terroirs are shared by the Rhône Septentrional, Côte Rôtie, Condrieu and Hermitage appellations. In the vineyard, very old (60 to 100 years old) Gamays, Viognier, Chardonnay and Syrah vines were planted - and carefully selected to ensure only the very best ones were chosen - using Riparia Gloire and Viala rootstocks.
ALEXANDRA de VAZEILLES: A STORY OF PASSION
I graduated with an MBA in finance and strategy, with a specialisation in winegrowing and oenology, from Northwestern University Kellogg in Chicago. I lived and worked in the United States for 15 years. Before purchasing my own vineyard and really making my dream come true, I gained experience with some of the greatest winegrowing estates, including the Château Latour in Pauillac - Premier Grand Cru Classé 1855, the Domaine de Montille in Volnay and the Domaine Roulot in Meursault.
At the Château des Bâchelards, I decided to go against all the traditional methods of the region and define my very own style, even from the first vintage wine I produced. For me, biodynamic farming practices are extremely important, and I combined this with my vision and ambition for the estate's unique terroir. I chose this terroir one cold morning in January, I didn't inherit it, I'm not from a family of winegrowers, this was my choice and that changes a lot of things. Growing your own vines and producing wine is an intimate affair. Wine is an invitation to be inspired, to dream, to travel, and my wine is the perfect reflection of a unique place. There is something spiritual about the relationship between Mankind and the Earth, and the way you interpret this relationship is unique. I am continuing the work that was started by the Benedictine monks who founded this estate and produced their own wine here for eight centuries.
My production is my own interpretation of each vintage wine from Les Bâchelards, a unique place. That's what makes this profession such a fascinating one. The great wines are all unique and can be left to age for 20 years, and no two wines are ever the same. My wines are velvety to taste, with silky tannins and endless length on the palate. I thank Mother Nature for these seven first vintage wines and we are working hard to continue producing our great wines. It's easy to produce good wine, but to produce a great wine requires giving the vine constant attention. These wines can only be produced by constantly renewed inspirations, really picturing the end result, through passion for the land and an intimate connection with the terroir.
Come visit the Château and soak up the harmony reigning in the vineyards of the estate, share a moment of French art de vivre, and watch the sun set over the chapel of La Madone de Fleurie while enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace. Discover the château's facilities from the vine to the cellars in order to understand the different stages in the production of a great wine. You will be offered a commented tasting of the estate's wines, one of which will be served blind! Cooking lessons, food and wine pairings, picnic in the vineyards or discovery of the profession of winegrower. On reservation.