The sun was setting as we drove to our dinner at Chateau Moulin-à-Vent. It was my first time to Beaujolais, and as we turned up the road to our destination, we saw, sitting on the top of the hill in front of us, the iconic Moulin-à-Vent, or windmill.
The 500-year-old structure was breathtaking as the sky turned from a light yellow to a warm orange. After a few photos, we drove 650 feet farther and arrived at Chateau Moulin-à-Vent.
Moulin-à-Vent, located in the southernmost tip of Burgundy, is one of the 10 Crus of Beaujolais. Moulin-à-Vent borders the vineyards of Chenas to the north and Fleurie to the south.
Declared AOC status in 1936, Moulin-à-Vent, named for that windmill on the hill, lies on the slopes of the Beaujolais hills. There are 650 hectares of vines in Moulin-à-Vent and more than 60 different micro-terroirs. The soils range from sandy to pink granite. Due to the mineral manganese found in the soils, which is toxic to grapevines, the yields in Moulin-à-Vent are smaller with highly concentrated grapes. There are a lot of sunlight hours and a lot of wind, a defining characteristic of the region, and hence the windmill.
Bearing the same name as the region, Chateau Moulin-à-Vent, originally named Chateau des Thorins, began in the 1700s. Under the same family ownership from 1911 to 2009, Chateau Moulin-à-Vent was purchased by Jean-Jacques Parinet and his son Edouard in 2009. At the time, the vines were not healthy and the chateau was quite basic. They replanted the vineyards first and then upgraded the chateau and…
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