The Perrachons are well distributed in the northern part of Beaujolais between Juliénas and Chénas and have had dealings with The Society over many years. At Château Bonnet in the heart of Chenas country, Pierre-Yves Perrachon is the man. He is also, incidentally, president of the Chénas appellation.
It is quite normal for growers to produce wines from different appellations when, as is the case here, the land holdings are so scattered. Pierre-Yves produces Saint-Amour and Juliénas as well as Chénas and there is even a little bit of Moulin-à-Vent too. But he remains mainly a Chénas producer. This is easily one of the least known of the 10 crus of Beaujolais and the reason is that most of the wine produced was often sold in bulk to the négociants in Burgundy where the wine could quite legally be sold as AOC Bourgogne. All of which means that Chénas remains modestly priced.
Chénas and Moulin-à-Vent lie side by side and the wines are not dissimilar except that Chénas is just a touch lighter and has more delicacy. Both keep well and both respond to traditional Burgundian winemaking. The cru Beaujolais terroir is granite bedrock, which has broken up over the centuries into layers of sand and gravel. This works with the temperate climate to showcase gamay at its fragrant, fruit-driven, floral best.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Pierre-Yves and his team have focused on sustainable farming, avoiding pesticides where possible and instead planting grass and flowers between the vines as a natural form of pest control. Harvesting is all by hand. Once they reach the winery the grapes are treated to very traditional Beaujolais winemaking methods. They are macerated on their skins for 8 to 12 days, during which time as much tannin and colour as possible are extracted by stirring the skins, punching down the cap, and regular pumping over. A pneumatic press is used as a gentler means of handling the grapes, and post-fermentation some wines are aged in oak barrels or casks before bottling.