Domaine Yohan Lardy
When a Man Loves a Terroir
Yohan Lardy’s youthful enthusiasm and charm are practically irresistible. As you chase him up and around his 114-year-old Gamay vines in Moulin a Vent you can’t help but share his feelings of extreme good fortune in getting to work this superb site known as ‘Les Michelons.’ Digging through the loose, sandy soil of the vineyard, Yohan searches for particularly beautiful chunks of quartz, granite, and manganese to show to us as if they were buried jewels. As he points into the distance at the peak of Mont Blanc appearing out from behind the clouds he tells us, “my office has the best view!” And then to drive home what we’re all thinking, he shouts, “I love this fucking terroir!”
If you subscribe to the notion that the wine matches the winemaker, Yohan’s energy and unguarded good-humor will come as no surprise once you’ve tasted his wines. There is tremendous concentration and purity of fruit in the wines as well as great mineral structure. But there is a vivacity and lightness as well, reminiscent of Yohan as he cracks jokes about local eating (“I’m stuffed…choucroute?…well maybe a little…”) or his preferences for tasting wines in the open air, on a hilltop over-looking the Beaujolais Crus.
Yohan is the fifth generation in his family to grow wine in the Beaujolais, but 2012 was the first vintage under his own label. He is working organically in his vineyards, plowing in between the rows and vines so herbicides aren’t needed. The balance of biodiversity that he maintains makes using insecticides unnecessary. All of this vineyard work, including harvest, is done manually. In the cellar, whole-cluster fermentation begins spontaneously in concrete or polyethylene tanks and lasts up to three weeks. No SO2 is added during fermentation. He then ages his Cru wines in old Burgundy barrels for 8-10 months
Along with the Moulin-a-Vent ‘Les Michelons,’ Yohan is bottling micro-cuvées from tiny plots in Fleurie, where he lives, Chenas, and Beaujolais-Villages. The Fleurie ‘Les Viviers’ is from 0.5 ha and Yohan made just under 170 cases in 2016. The Chenas is from an even smaller 0.22 ha plot that yields very smallberried clusters. Just over 100 cases were bottled in 2016. Then there’s “The Poppy,” Yohan’s Vin de France Gamay sourced from Beaujolais-Village vines, and a little from Moulin-a-Vent. This is a juicy, fresh wine that absolutely screams gamay and jumps out of the glass aromatically. Just over 200 cases were bottled in 2016
But Yohan’s real treasure is the 1ha Moulin-a-Vent “Les Michelons” vineyard, and it’s most profound expression is the cuvée “Vieilles Vignes de 1903” sourced from the vines planted by the previous owner’s grandfather. This is a Cru Beaujolais for aging as it needs time to integrate all of its powerful structure and dense material. It points to the ultimate truth that beneath Yohan’s boyish energy is a serious and remarkably talented vigneron whose progress will be a great pleasure to follow for many years
Moulin à Vent 'Les Michelons'
Fleurie 'Le Vivier'
in only 1/2 ha in the lieu-dit ‘Le Vivier’ plot – sand over blue granite. Vines are planted at 250 meters elevation. Yield is 40hl/ha. Hand harvested. Whole cluster carbonic maceration for an average of 18 days in concrete vats using indigenous yeasts. Spends a few months on lees after malolactic. Aged 8 months in neutral oak barrels. Light filtration before bottling, no fining. 2 g/hl of SO2 added just before bottling