Forever fuelled by his passion and determination, in 1986 Jean-Marc Lafont began forging new traditions for his domaine, Domaine de Bel-Air, first established in 1840. His approach has become more focused on environmentally friendly practices as his deep love for the land and estate drives him to ensure the domaine lasts long after his own retirement. Since 1992, Lafont has enlisted eco-friendly vine tending techniques, adapting increasingly contemporary methods to highlight the subtleties of the terroir without destroying it.
Domaine de Bel Air enjoys the fortuity of 7 different appellation areas, 5 of which produce stock for the wines we are proud to share with you. The terroir differs significantly between them, providing unique characteristics to each bottle. Beaujolais-Villages utilises the granite and sand soils to drive through the flavours of blackcurrant and strawberry with hints of cherry. As expected, the Fleurie appellation sits on pink granite soil allowing Lafont to create the elegant yet spicy notes of his 'Fleurie Granits Roses' wine. This provides an opposing perspective to the 'Morgon Les Charmes' grapes which are grown upon ancient schist and eruptive rock.
Moulin-a-vent is the appellation all winemakers know of, and is considered the most prestigious of Beaujolais Crus, Lafont's 'Les Burdelines' is best cellared for 6+ years. The terroir sits on a pink, crumbly granitic soil, called gore or grès, that is shot through with seams of manganese.
What really excites us about Jean-Marc Lafont is his constant drive to work with the Earth and not against it, constantly finding new methods and styles to reduce impact on the environment while cultivating a superb legacy. This is perfectly demonstrated in his more recent venture in the Serines and Galopines appellations.
Jean-Marc experiences first hand the effect of global warming, seeing as many agriculturalists do, the harvests ripening earlier every year. So with magnificent fully south facing granitic terroirs, Lafont, along with 3 passionate friends, planted two grape varieties that are generally to be found further south in the region. Syrah – a red variety from northern Rhône Valley – and Viognier – a white variety from the northern Rhône valley.
"This daring adventure is first and foremost a bet on the future: that of looking at global warming from an optimistic point of view, allowing us to bring you original and high-quality wines." - Jean-Marc Lafont
Overall, the wines are quintessentially Beaujolais and they deliver instantly at opening with a striking purity of fruit. The Domaine is certified high environmental value, which means that they grow the grapes organically but also favour the biodiversity. All in the favour of more complexity in the glass.
Definitely some stunning wines of great value to have by your side. Rarely have I seen such combination.