Michele Smith and David Chapel met in Beaujolais, whilst Michele was on holiday and David was working at Lapierre. After some time in New York, where, most recently, Michele was the Wine Director for Brooklyn Fare they moved back to Beaujolais to become vignerons. Their first vintage, 2016 Julienas Côte de Bessay, was vinified at Lapierre whilst they were still searching for their own cellars. In 2017 with their new family home and cellars in Régnié-Durette they started on the new vintage, introducing a Beaujolais Villages from fruit in nearby Lantignié from organically farmed vineyards.

We introduced Domaine Chapel to our portfolio with the Julienas, which saw its final vintage being produced in 2018. The wine quickly gained cult status and whilst we are sad to see it go, we are so excited to represent the Fleurie, Chiroubles, Moulin-a Vent, and Aligoté. Michele and David have spent thousands of hours over the last year working the land on these sites and the resulting wines are quite remarkable.

David and Michele started farming three plots in two different crus of Beaujolais: Chiroubles (Saint-Roch and Poullet) and Fleurie (Charbonnières) in January 2018. Sitting at 400m and 460m respectively the subsequent work they’ve done has been organic and by hand with only a cable plough and garden hoe.

Chiroubles is an assemblage of the two sites, each 1 hectare. The average age of vines in Saint Roch is 55 years, with Poullet varying between 40 and 60 years old. Pink granite and sandstone make up the soil.

Sat in an amphitheatre looking down on the back of La Madone, Fleurie Charbonnières is 1.2 hectares of vines amongst the acacia forest. The land has been farmed organically for over 20 years, the youngest vines are 35 years old and the oldest are over 60. The soil is a mix of granitic sand, weathered rock fragments and igneous rock.

Starting with an Aligoté from Fixin in 2018, the Smith-Chapel label is an exploration into high altitude parcels in Beaujolais – Moulin-a-Vent, and from 2019, in the Mâconnais.

2019 Bourgogne Aligoté is from Igé, Mâcon. The grapes are grown on a single parcel of land, sloped with marl and calcaire soil, giving the wine a unique citrus note. Michele best describes this as “like drinking salty lemonade with a lick of limestone”. The wine was pressed with no sulphur added, with none added during fermentation also. Unfined, unfiltered it sees fermentation and elevage in stainless steel.

The 2019 Moulin-a-Vent ‘Chassignol’ is the first Beaujolais under the Smith-Chapel label. Chosen as a single plot it sits at 400masl on a steep, North-East facing slope. ‘Chassignol’ is designated as being in the village of Chénas, which is classified as the cru Moulin-a-Vent (which translates as windmill). Extremely high density plantings, on a mix of pink granite and sandstone gives this wine a unique richness, and character unlike any of the Domaine Chapel Beaujolais.