Beaujolais, Part 11

The man mountain that is Raphael Saint-Cyr (pictured above) is one of the new generation of Beaujolais winegrowers who have taken a modest family domaine and raised it to new heights. He joined the family domaine back in 2008 at the age of 22, and has helped it expand into the crus, turn to organic farming, and look to export markets.

The domaine itself consists of 28 hectares of vines, with 20 in the south of Beaujolais, 6 of which are planted to Chardonnay. Saint Cyr also has 8 hectares in the Crus: Chenas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent and Regnie.

His start was to move to organic farming. 'We've been 100% organic for 10 years,' he explains. 'It's not a real challenge for me now: I want to do it and I cannot work with chemicals any more. But it was a challenge 10 years ago when we decided to convert.'

'Organic is growing,' says Raphael. 'There are lots of young guys that work organically.' However, there aren't that many here in the south of the region: maybe 10. There are more in Morgon and Fleurie, the most prestigious crus.

One of the oddities of Saint Cyr is that they have 1.5 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc. This is because Raphael worked for Brancott Estate in the 2006/7 vintage in Marlborough, New Zealand, and decided that when he got back, he’d have a go with it. I don’t think there’s much of a future for Sauvignon here: it's an unusual wine, but it sells well at the cellar door.

Winemaking depends on the wine, and for the more fruity styles there's 100% carbonic maceration. The wines here are solid, honest, and in some cases quite exciting. The packaging is spot-on, too.


Saint Cyr Kanon Keg 2017
This is made from bought-in grapes and is packaged in Key Keg. 100% carbonic maceration. Fresh and supple with nice juiciness and some herb and spice notes. Sappy and a bit stony. 88/100

Saint Cyr La Galoche Blanc 2017
Galoche translates as 'kiss with tongues'. This is made in white, red and pink versions. The white is pressed and aged for 4-5 months in concrete. From clay/limestone soils. Fresh, stony and bright with understated pear fruit with some floral hints. Has a nice texture and some lemon notes on the finish. 89/100

Saint Cyr La Galoche Rosé 2017
Gamay, direct pressed, fermented using natural yeast. Has brightness and a bit of stoniness, as well as nice acidity. Pure with some cranberry notes. 88/100

Saint Cyr La Galoche Rouge 2017
From limestone and clay soils. The grapes are chilled overnight then put in a tank. CO2 is pumped in to remove all the air. Then there's a cold maceration for at least 3 days. If it smells nice, it’s left, otherwise a pied de cuve is used to get fermentation going. No sulfites are added. This is left for 10-15 days and if it gets smelly, the cap is wetted. Supple and bright with lovely freshness and some juicy raspberry notes. Pure red cherries, with some grip. Very attractive and stony, with a bit of seriousness. 90/100

Saint Cyr Terroir de Bellevue 2017
This is from 70 year old vines grown on limestone. Semicarbonic maceration. Lively and complex with great concentration. Has bright red cherry and raspberry fruit with good acidity that's mouthwatering but integrated. Nice density and focus here with a citrus note. Very different to granite. 93/100

Saint Cyr Chénas 'Les Blémonts' 2015
From Les Blémonts lieu dit, with white granite and round stones. 70% of this spends 18 months in barrel, the rest is in small tanks. Stony and supple with freshness and a little bit of spicy warmth, as well as juicy raspberries. Has a slight earthy savouriness and a bit of oak influence. 91/100

Saint Cyr Moulin-à-Vent 'La Bruyère' 2015
Blue granite. 100% carbonic maceration, because the grapes were very small this year. Dense, focused, savoury and quite spicy. Has some depth. Grainy and grippy with with black cherry and blackberry fruit and some cedary undertones. A little stern but with real presence. 92/100

Saint Cyr Morgon 'Les Charmes' 2015
White sand and red schist. Lively, lifted spicy nose with vivid raspberry and cherry fruit, showing nice spiciness. Very fresh and expressive with a spicy bite. Has a slight wildness to it with some savoury detail. 90/100

Saint Cyr Chénas 'Les Journets' 2017 (barrel sample)
Juicy, vital and spicy with really vivid acidity. Stony and expressive with nice focus and a linear personality. Has a spicy, mineral, crystal-like quality. 91-93/100

Saint Cyr Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Vin de France
20 g/l sugar. Fruity, rounded and expressive with a bit of sweetness. Pretty and accessible with a very fruity character. 86/100

Saint-Cyr Pet Nat Rosé 2017 Vin de France
This is bought-in Gamay that is direct pressed. It is inoculated with a pied de cuve and left to ferment until 1005 density (15-20 g sugar left) and is then bottles without filtration. It finishes with 1-4 g sugar. The pressure is 5 bars after disgorging. It's left to ferment upside down to keep the fruit. Very pure and bright with beautiful fruit. Juicy cherry and raspberry notes are really pure. Lovely wine. 90/100

Saint Cyr Chénas Les Blémonts Vignes Centeniares 2013
This is a special old vines bottling, in magnum. Stern and savoury with high acid and some cedary oak, as well as fine spices. Has a really stony character. Nicely savoury, showing real elegance. Needs more time to integrate the oak. 93/100


Part 1, Yvon Metras
Part 2, Pierre Cotton
Part 3, Yann Bertrand
Part 4, David Chapel
Part 5, Château Thivin
Part 6, Jean-Marc Burgaud
Part 7, Domaine Marcel Lapierre
Part 8, Jules Desjourneys

Part 9, Thillardon
Part 10, Mee Godard

Part 11, Saint-Cyr

Wines tasted 04/18

Article published August 2018 
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