Domaine Chapel is a Beaujolais estate founded by David Chapel and Michele Smith-Chapel in the Cru Village of Régnié-Durette. The Chapels produced their first wine - a 2016 Juliénas “Côte de Bessay” - in partnership with the acclaimed Morgon estate Domaine Lapierre.
The connection between the Chapel and Lapierre families goes back to the 1980s. David’s late father, Alain Chapel was one of the leaders of French Nouvelle Cuisine in the 1970s and 80s (along with Paul Bocuse, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, etc). He was among the first Michelin 3 star restaurants to pour Lapierre and would regularly visit the estate where he struck up a lifelong friendship with Marcel Lapierre. David would often accompany his father on these buying trips and the Lapierre family welcomed him as one of their own.
David Chapel worked his first harvest in the Beaujolais in 2005 at the winery of Marcel Lapierre’s cousin, Christophe Pacalet. He continued his career in wine working as a Sommelier with stints in Japan and New York, but it was back at Domaine Lapierre in 2013 where he met his future wife, Michele Smith. A fellow sommelier, Michele was wine director for Brooklyn Fare, another 3-star Michelin restaurant in New York City. David followed Michele to New York shortly after their meeting. In 2015 the couple returned to Beaujolais and set their sights on establishing their own Domaine.
In 2017, the Chapels produced two wines. A Julienas from the lieu-dit ‘Côte de Bessay’ and a Beaujolais- Villages from the village of Lantignié. Côte de Bessay is a contiguous, south east-facing parcel that borders the northern cru of Saint-Amour. The vine age averages between 40-65 years and the soil is a mix of granite and pierres bleues, a type of dark blue metamorphic rock. With the 2018 vintage the couple will introduce cuvees from newly acquired old vine parcels in Fleurie and Chiroubles.
The wines undergo semi-carbonic maceration in large vats using indigenous yeasts, before roughly nine months’ aging in the foudres. They are bottled without fining or filtration. The results are bright, fresh, juicy wines that are eminently drinkable.