Wines Like No Other - The Wines of Chateau De Béru
People talk a lot about brightness and energy in a wine, but the wines of Chateau de Béru are the epitome of sunshine in a bottle!
Chateau de Béru’s vineyards sit on the slopes of the Chablis Grand Cru foothills. The Chateau is rooted in history and in the greatest traditions of Burgundian wines. The Béru family has owned the historical Chateau for just over 400 years. In 1987 Comte Éric de Béru was the first to take a passionate dive into quality, respectful farming and focus on making their vineyards (including the famous Clos Béru — a unique piece of terroir which owes its name to the 13th Century Wall that surrounds the parcel) into world-class wines. The torch has since been passed on to his daughter, Athénaïs, who has been the head winemaker since 2004 and continues to strive for excellence.
I had the pleasure of traveling to Chablis and tasting wines with Athénaïs herself. It was an incredible experience not only to meet the winemaker, but to be in the presence of such a historic Chateau and monopole vineyard. You really are able to appreciate a bottle of wine so much more when you see the hard work that is put into it. Athénaïs believes strongly in biodynamic farming and she cuts no corners. I distinctly remember her having to get up at 4am to spray the vines with nettle in order to protect them from the harsh weather conditions in the upcoming days.
Athénaïs puts so much love and care into what she does and it truly pays off. Very few wines cause such an intense visceral reaction that can only be described as pure joy and wonderment. And not only does she produce the wines for Chateau de Béru, but she also has her own eponymous négociante label. The brand "Athénaïs" was created based on a close selection of parcels from growers who also have great respect for terroir. Every grower harvests their own grapes by hand which are cultivated in harmony with nature through organic or biodynamic practices. The fruit is then taken to Chateau de Béru and vinified very carefully without any added yeasts, fining or filtration. Through this label, Athénaïs has created a range of wines (both red and white) sourced from various appellations throughout France.
From her classic Chateau de Béru Chablis, to her innovative “Athénaïs” line of wines, every bottle is a true expression of terroir that’s breathtakingly pure yet complex.
Chateau de Béru, Clos Béru (2014) — Chablis, France
Clos Béru has been singled out and kept enclosed for its very unique qualities, since the 13th Century. Year after year, the Clos keeps providing atypically brilliant, powerful, round and mineral wines.
As it is the case in all great Burgundy terroir, it only takes a few steps in the parcel to notice significant changes in the nature of the soil, the inclination of the slope or the vigor of the vines. Year after year the vines maintain a low yield and continue to produce exceptional fruit.
This wine is a MUST for Chablis enthusiasts… Or really any enthusiast of pleasure. It’s truly a special wine that should be experienced at least once (if not dozens) of times.
Athénaïs, Amphore Pinot Noir (2015) — Vin de France
This is an amazingly unique wine that I absolutely fell in love with the first time I tried it. I happened to be with Athénaïs right outside the picture perfect Chateau which provided a beautiful backdrop to this delicious wine.
It’s fermented using an amphora, which is a large clay pot vessel that is often still used for Georgian wines. The amphora is said to preserve and showcase the purity of the fruit, and I’d have to say it was a success.
This Pinot Noir has bright red fruit, along with floral and white pepper aromas bursting out of the glass. The palate has a remarkable freshness and is well balanced between wild berry fruit notes and a savory, earthy complexity. This wine is to be adored!
Athénaïs, Irancy, Pinot Noir (2015) — Irancy, France
This is a wine that comes from the Burgundy sub-appellation of Irancy. The vineyards here are rich in limestone with vines 35-40 years of age. All the fruit is harvested by hand and fermented whole cluster using indigenous yeasts. The wine is then aged for 12 months in old oak barrels, with no fining or filtration before bottling.
It’s a tremendously finessed bottle of wine that happens to also be incredibly approachable. It’s the kind of wine that can be gone before you know it, while also offering a depth of flavor and character when slowly savored.