An enologist in Beaune since 1967, Paul Chapelle has a list of clients in the Côte de Beaune that contains the names of most of the top domaines in the region (Ramonet, Jobard, Lafarge, Pousse d'Or, Simon Bize, Paul Pernot and de Montille to name a few). In 1976, he inherited one hectare of vines in the Santenay 1st growth vineyard "Les Gravières," and has been making his own wine ever since.
Since that year, he has produced a small amount of Meursault (100 cases a year), and in 1987, three hectares of vines were acquired in a sharecropping contract with a grower in Puligny-Montrachet. The rich soil of Santenay is known for being over productive, but here, every attempt is made to keep the crop levels at or around 40 hectoliters per hectare. This involves not only pruning short in the winter, but passing through the vineyard in July and dropping at least two bunches of grapes per vine. The grapes are de-stemmed completely, and the resulting wine sees approximately 25-35% new oak and is bottled unfiltered.
The white wines are barrel fermented and 100% malo-lactic. Crop levels range between 40-45 hectoliters per hectare, and the wines are extremely focused. The emphasis here is on balance, finesse and the ability to age. The Meursault is masculine, minerally and quite dense while the wines from Puligny-Montrachet are more feminine, floral and rich. All of Chapelle's wines show good acidity and are remarkable in that they drink very well when young, but when mature, they still show bright fruit and good structure.