David Chapel has a restaurant background, having worked as a sommelier. His father (Alain Chapel) owned a restaurant that had the full complement of three Michelin stars. David also spent three years in Kobe, Japan. His father was good friends with Marcel Lapierre, and David went to work with the Lapierre family.
This is where he met his wife Michele. She was a wine buyer from New York, and in 2013 and she was visiting Beaujolais. On the second day of her trip she was late for an appointment to Lapierre, and because Matthieu Lapierre had left, he got David to meet her and do the tasting. He moved to New York a month later to be with her.
Three years later, they moved back to Beaujolais, and they set up their own domaine. They found their house and cellar in Regnié-Durette in 2017, but they’d already made a bit of wine in 2016 at Lapierre, where they shared a parcel of Juliénas that Lapierre were vinifying for the first time.
Total crush here in 2017 was just 17 tons, so they are starting small. All winemaking is very low extraction, with carbonic maceration, no pigeage, and no punching down: just keeping the cap wet. The style here is really elegant, and as Chapel gains more experience and makes more wine, this will be a domaine to watch. In 2018 they will also be making some Fleurie and Chiroubles from some parcels that they have purchased.
Domaine Chapel Beaujolais Villages 2017
This is from three parcels (Aux Vergers, Aux Bidons and La Crois Blanche) at high elevation in Lantignie, and it’s whole cluster carbonic maceration with no sulfites (just a little is added at bottling). Tried twice: at the domaine and in London a month later. Supple, fresh and elegant with a nice red cherry and spice character. Fresh, smooth with a really supple character. This is beautifully elegant and expressive with red cherries, fine spices and real prettiness. 93/100
Domaine Chapel Juliénas 2017 (tank sample)
This is from a 4 ha Côte de Bessay plot, on the limit of Juliénas, with blues stones and granite. Supple and fresh with nice brightness, red cherries and spice. Supple and juicy with some spiciness. Nicely elegant in a lighter style. 90-92/100
Cuvée David Chapel Juliénas Côte de Bessay Juliénas 2016
Made at Lapierre. Supple and ripe with red cherry and spice notes. There’s some tannin here. Fine-grained with good acidity, showing lovely savouriness. Really elegant and well defined: a new style of Juliénas? 93/100
UK agent: Uncharted Wines