2014 Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes Côte de Brouilly "Cuvée des Ambassades'"
Pale red. A pure, expansive bouquet displays vibrant strawberry, blood orange and floral pastille scents and energetic minerality. Taut, spicy and sharply focused, offering juicy red fruit and floral pastille flavors plus a touch of five-spice powder. The mineral and floral qualities repeat on a long, gently tannic finish that leaves a sweet red berry note behind. (JR)
Allen Meadows - Burghound
Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes has grown vines on the flanks of the landmark Mont Brouilly since 1861. The domaine reserves 12 of its 37 acres of vines for its top cuvée, Ambassades, sold to French embassies as a flagship Côte de Brouilly. This is one of Beaujolais' smallest appellations, and these 12 acres are Chavanne's best parcels. They grow high on the slopes. There is a hint of herbal tea on the very fresh red berry, earth and softly pepper-inflected aromas. I like the lovely sense of energy to the beautifully well-detailed medium weight flavors that exhibit a hint of minerality on the mildly dusty but not really drying finish. This is pretty rather than deep and while it's more elegant than its 2015 counterpart, it doesn't have the same stuff. Drink: 2018+
This 100% Gamay is the domaine's most ageworthy Beaujolais, from vines grown on steep granite slopes. Aged in foudre, it's said to be a favorite at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thus the name"Cuvée des Ambassades." The familiar label design is shared with Chateau Thivin. However, after the initial fermentation, in epoxy-lined concrete tanks, this is racked into very large, very old wood barrels (some dating back the 150+ years the domaine has been in existence) to round the tannins a bit, without imparting any new oak notes. The combination of high, steep vineyards and the mixture of deomposed granite and diorite (a blue igneous rock) leads to problems of erosion, but wonderful drainage. The result is a fine and focused wine with the characteristic gunflint nose this appellation is known for, a lovely spice on the palate, and lots of concentration without weightiness. Well done! The Côte de Brouilly is one of Beaujolais's smallest crus, with only 1.3 square miles of area, known for wines of focus, energy and drive. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 01/2015) Thw 2013 vintage earned 92 points RJonWine.com: "Medium dark cherry red color with pale meniscus; appealing, bright, red currant, dried red berry nose; tasty, ripe red currant, tart red berry, dried berry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (highest and steepest vineyards in appellation of Mont Brouilly)."