Bien Boire en Beaujolais
This wine tasting event happens every year in April, uniting five groups of Beaujolais producers, individual domaines with a certain bias towards the wild side – I tend to be one of the few clean-shaven males in the room. It is a great opportunity to catch up with the new vintage and to see who is evolving in which direction.
The last two vintages in the Beaujolais have been somewhat marred by hideous hail storms, partly in Morgon but especially Fleurie and parts of Moulin a vent. This apparent, I like the classicism of 2016 in the Beaujolais, following on from the much more powerful 2015s – a power that has produced some wonderful wines and some which are less well balanced. Here is a small selection of wines which particularly caught my eye at BBB 2018, one each from 8 appellations.
2016 Beaujolais En Besset, Domaine de Fa 87
The Graillots of Crozes-Hermitage, Alain and sons Maxime and Antoine purchased a block of vineyards of which only one quarter qualifies for the St Amour appellation. This comes from the rest of the plot: It is vibrant and delicious but with a bit more meatiness to it. This is thoroughly impressive for a straight Beaujolais.
2016 Beaujolais villages Le Rocher, Nicolas Chemarin 90
Grown high up on a granite outcrop. Lighter colour, very pretty perfumed nose, really lovely, there is spice, a bit of gentle raspberry, all about finesse, magical elegance, I would sign up for this without hesitation!
2016 Regnié, Antoine Sunier 90
This may be the only domaine to serve Regnié after Morgon, but I can see why Antoine Sunier chooses to do so. This is fantastic wine. Bright purple, if not the depth of colour of the 2017, while the stems show more evidently but are attractively intermingled with the fruit. Gorgeous racy fruit behind. Extremely impressive, this is absolutely as good as Regnié gets.
2016 Juliénas Les Mouilles, Domaine Laurent Perrachon 90
Laurent Perrachon is in charge part of the commission looking at climats (and possibly 1ers crus) in Juliénas. He also makes good wine! This comes from part of Les Chers, south-facing at mid-slope behind the domaine buildings – the best sector for Laurent’s grandfather. Similar purple colour to their other wines, with more punch to the nose, some violets here, more expressive than the regular bottling and the fruit covers the structure very well. Intense and lingering.
2015 Côte de Brouilly Loïs, Domaine Laurent Martray 91
Really intense purple, a voluptuous nose and this time the oak is more masked by the fruit (compared to their 2016) but a touch intrusive still on the palate. Nonetheless it finishes on vibrant dark raspberry fruit and there is enough concentration for this to work long term.
2016 Moulin-à-Vent Héritage, Domaine Paul & Eric Janin 91
What was formerly labelled as Clos de Tremblay has been rebranded Héritage from 2014. Though based in the lower lying part of the appellation it is a site with great potential as shown by this wine which has a dense dark colour with a strong mineral note on the nose. There is a real intensity here and a lovely crunch at the finish, providing structure behind the lush fruit. It should have very good ageing potential.
2015 Fleurie La Dot, Clos de Mez 91
Producer Marie-Elodie Zighera Confuron has been persuaded into producing some wine in a more immediate floral style but this is her real long term wine here, given 25 days in the fermenting tank with punching down to ensure extraction of a decent structure. But it has not been exaggerated. Thereafter it is matured for a year in a mix of tank and barrel, a further year in tank and then a third year in bottle before release. It has a rich deep dark colour, a firm, backward bouquet and plenty of muscle. This is the real deal, with intense dark Fleurie fruit, excellent texture, balanced and long.
2017 Morgon Les Impénitents, Domaine Louis-Claude Desvignes 92
From a plot of ancient (planted 1912-1914) vines within Javernières, given 80% whole bunch vinification. Dense dark red and purple colour. The nose is explosive but the wine has huge long term intensity as well, not just obvious fruit. Very strict mineral muscle behind. Keep for a minimum of 5 years but I would recommend more.