One of the oldest properties in Beaujolais, Château de Lacarelle is an outstanding estate with a history spanning over 250 years. The Durieu de Lacarelle family bought it in 1750 and had the good business sense to create a Paris-based company to sell the wines. Since then, the estate has passed from father to son, each generation inheriting the winemaking passion of the last.
At 150 hectares, the estate is large for the region, and much of the land is in the hands of ten trusted families of sharecropping tenants, known in French as métayage. The vines have an average age of almost 60 years, and are planted on the granitic soil that is typical of the northern half of Beaujolais, with a nearby flock of sheep providing the estate’s natural fertiliser.
The vines here are among the first to ripen. This enables the family to produce Beaujolais in a soft, round style, and is also the reason that – in The Society’s opinion – this property’s Beaujolais Nouveau was simply the best. They are also close to the Dépagneux family, so it is not surprising that wine from this property often forms part of The Society’s Beaujolais Villages blend, and has done for many years.
The talented Louis Durieu de Lacarelle took ran the estate from 1969 until his death in 2013 at the age of 88. He felt passionately that Beaujolais should be properly made in a way that the wine could be enjoyed young without having to be kept. To this end he applied all his skills as an enologist at a time when the status of winemaker barely existed. He was in so many ways very much ahead of his time.