The Beaujolais of the South
“Brouilly, the most southerly of the Beaujolais crus, is also the most exuberant. Its vines form a cordon around the base of the impressive Mont Brouilly.”
The Origin of the Gamay Grape
The first official mention of the Gamay grape variety dates back to the 14th century. According to Philippe le Hardi, the grape was widely planted at the time. It is therefore thought that the variety came into existence well before this period. Some scholars suggest that Gamay is an ancient variety brought to France from the Balkans by the Roman Emperor Probus in the 3rd century. However, scientific experts believe that Gamay is the genetic descendant of the Pinot Noir and Gouais grapes.
The Power of Stoney Soils
The vineyards surrounding the Château de la Perrière are planted on diverse soils featuring decomposed blue stone clay and volcanic soils with high silica content. These plots on the slopes of the majestic Mont Brouilly are ideally situated at an altitude of 300 metres, facing east, sheltered from the winds and the rains coming from the west.
A Noble History
In 1631 Antoine Brac, a notary from Beaujeu, established a humble 1-hectare vineyard. It took over 150 years and 4 generations for the estate to attain its current size. Along the way, the family saw their status elevated when François Brac, lawyer in the Paris parliament, became county magistrate in Lyon and was made noble. François chose to append the name of his Château “de la Perrière” to his name, becoming Brac de la Perrière. The estate and the quality of its fine wines, renowned throughout Beaujolais, remains a source of familial pride to this day.
Good Vineyard Techniques for Great Beaujolais
The vines of Château de la Perrière are pruned in the traditional gobelet method. This bush vine format helps reduce yields, which is particularly important for the low vigour, yet fertile Gamay grape to ensure a long, healthy vine life. Gamay trained in this way, on Château de la Perrière’s fine soils, gives lovely ruby coloured wine with intense aromas of red berries and cherries, a generous, fruity palate profile, and well-structured tannins. This vibrant, fruit-driven red is an excellent companion to typical regional dishes like Saucisson Beaujolais or Andouillette Lyonnaise.