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Silky, Supple Beaujolais from an Under-the-Radar Cru: Thillardon Vibrations

Stylized image of Thillardon bottle

Paul-Henri Thillardon is one of the finest wine-growers in Beaujolais, making wines with an irresistible balance of ripe fruit, crunchy acidity, and mineral verve. They are the embodiment of joy in a glass.

It’s no surprise that the wines are quite special, because Paul-Henri had some pretty iconic mentors: Yvon Métras and Jean-Louis Dutraive.

Unlike his mentors, though, Paul-Henri is not based in a famous cru like Fleurie or Moulin-à-Vent. Rather, he applies his rigorous natural farming approach to a collection of small plots in Chénas, one of the most under-the-radar Beaujolais crus. Chénas is blessed with high-elevation and a wide diurnal temperature swing, helping the wines achieve ripeness and concentration while maintaining a distinctively bright fruit profile and airy, open-knit texture.

Paul-Henri makes a number of single-site wines but year after year, the highlight of his collection is “Vibrations.” It is sourced from two unique parcels: Les Carrieres with flinty, silex soils, and Chassignol, the oldest vines on the estate, with more granite and quartz. They select the best material from both vineyards and give the grapes a classic cold carbonic maceration in concrete vats. The wine is then racked into used barrels of various sizes and a tiny dose of sulfur is added at bottling.

It’s the unique interplay between these two terroirs that gives Vibrations its seductive energy. The wine feels concentrated yet weightless. It’s impossible to stop drinking it. If you’re a fan of old-school natural Beaujolais like Foillard, Lapierre, and the aforementioned Dutraive and Métras, this wine is guaranteed to make you smile.

Thillardon, Chenas 'Les Vibrations', 2022 $45.99


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