Moulin-à-Vent was the first Beaujolais cru to be delimited and recognized officially. At the beginning, in the 1860s, it was named after the nearby village of Romanèche-Thorins. Wine expert Hugh Johnson, in his 1983 Modern Encyclopedia of Wine, calls it "the most 'serious' and expensive Beaujolais appellation." And he says Moulin-à-Vent Beaujolais is normally the last wine served during an elaborate Beaujolais dinner — with the cheese course, because it has enough body to stand up to strong cheeses that would overwhelm the other, lighter, Beaujolais crus.
It's too bad the tasting room/boutique was closed when we were there. But this was one our three longer stops as we drove from Beaujeu up toward the big town of Mâcon, north of Beaujolais, over the course of the afternoon. We climbed up the steps to the windmill with the dog and took a lot of photos.
The windmill itself dates back to the 15th century. In 1983, when Johnson published his book, the blades of the windmill had fallen off the old building, attacked by a fungus that weakened the wooden structure. The blades were restored 10 or 12 years ago.
Above is a map of the Moulin-à-Vent wine production area. It covers something like 1500 acres (less than 2½ mi²) and includes the village of Chénas, which is a Beaujolais cru in its own right. I'm posting the map at a fairly large size so that you can read it if you want to, by clicking on it to enlarge it. All the names of the different vineyard parcels (les terroirs) are interesting, and there's a blurb in English as well as French about the place.
Sitting just at the foot of the windmill is the house pictured above. I think it's a pretty typical old-style Beaujolais house, built with the stone of the region. According to the map, the windmill and the house stand on land that is at about 800 feet (250 meters) of elevation.