Steak and Chénas?

Perfect wine for steak, refreshes the palate after every swig.  Elevates a beautiful ribeye the same way worcestershire sauce elevates rancid meat.

Not quite.  Yes, Chénas is one of ten Cru villages in the northern most part of the Beaujolais wine region, it is a tough wine and you can enjoy it anytime of the year.  The ten Cru’s sit on rolling schist and granite hillsides that capture a lot of sunshine ensuring an earlier and riper harvest than the flatter, clay lands of the south.

Chénas is the smallest growing area that sits atop the more famous Moulin-à-Vent with some of the vineyards overlapping each other.  The permitted wine yields in Chénas are 48 hectoliters per hectare (1.7 tons to 2.47 acres) compared to the rest of Beaujolais’ 55 hectoliters per hectare meaning the fruit grown is more concentrated and full.  The wines are richer in structure, darker in color and mature gracefully.

The tiny vineyards of Domaine Pascal Aufranc hug steep mountainsides and are remote from other growers in the area.  The only neighbors being a pine forest to the west.    The average vine age is 65 years.  Old vines produce less grapes, the roots have to struggle to reach deep into the soil to find nourishment making the already low yielding Chénas fruit much stronger and long lived.  The pressed juice undergoes a 10 day fermentation in large foudres (the big barrels) then is settled in stainless steel tanks for 7 months before bottling.

No need for an aggressive, tannic blockbuster every time you prepare a big piece of meat.  Sometimes refreshing and racy will do just fine.

2009 Domaine Pascal Aufranc “Vieilles Vignes de 1939” Chénas.  $17.  Imported by Wine Traditions.

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