Domaine De Colette:
In the northernmost part of the Beaujolais region, located between the cities of Macon and Lyon, are the 10 cru villages where the best wine is made. Régnié is the most recent of the Beaujolais wines to be assigned the prestigious cru status. Its elevation, however, did not come overnight. When the original Beaujolais classification took place in 1939, Régnié was not included. However, négociants were well aware of the quality of its wines, and typically paid much higher for wines from that village than wines from the other villages within the appellation.
Sandwiched between Morgon to the North and Brouilly to the south, Régnié lies just below Morgon. Its 650 hectares (1,605 acres) of gently sloping vineyards are situated at an average altitude of some 1,000 feet. Soils are mainly granitic and sandy, marked by a presence of iron oxide and potassium in the subsoils, lending the wines both elegance and structure.
Domaine de Colette is in the small village of Lantignié, regarded as the top village in the cru, and is owned by Jacky and Evelyne Gauthier. It is less than 1 km from the border of Morgon. The soils at Colette are worked organically in an effort to promote healthy and vigorous root systems. They limit vine treatments during the year and intervene only when completely necessary. A green harvest is performed to give more concentrated grapes. Harvest is by hand, and only healthy grape clusters are emptied into the tank.
Beaujolais is made by a method called carbonic macération: Instead of crushing the grapes so that the juice, skins and yeast meet, the grapes are treated carefully so that they remain whole, with the skins unbroken. The bunches are then placed in the vats. The grapes at the bottom get crushed by the weight on top and begin to ferment in the normal way, while the grapes on top takes place within the grape, berry by berry. Because the fermentation takes place within the grape, both the color and flavor are extracted from under the skin so that the tannin on the outside -- often hard and astringent in young wine -- is mostly excluded. Charles Neal Importer