A Great Beaujolais: 2014 Cédric Chignard Julienas "Beauvernay," and Other Favorites!

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We have always loved the Fleurie "les Moriers" from Domaine Chignard - always one of the most elegant Beaujolais, sometimes a bit austere in it's youth, but always beautifully balanced, with pure fruit and good density and length. A few years ago, Cédric began producing a new cuvéee from a vineyard in his mother's family - the Juliénas "Beauvernay," and we greatly enjoyed the light but extremely pretty 2012. 2014 is our favorite recent vintage in Beaujolais - not an easy year for the vignerons, but the sunny weather from mid-August through September helped produce ripe fruit with good acidity and freshness, and the 2014 "Beauvernay" is outstanding! Since 2007 Cédric Chignard has taken over the direction of the estate, although aided by his father Michel. Cédric's style seems nearly identical to his father's, with plowing and good vineyard work (though not certified organic) and a very light hand in the cellar, with minimal extraction and aging in old barrels, foudres and vats, depending on the wine and vintage. "Beauvernay" is a south-facing slope of high-density 60 year-old vines on blue volcanic soil. The wine is  simply delicious - a real joy to drink, with gorgeous, complex fruit, moderate alcohol, great balance and wonderful stony density that foretells excellent mid-term aging. Approximately 12 cases are available with the possibility of a bit more in the Spring - this wine is highly recommended, and reasonably priced! (Arrival Monday 12/5)

While we're on the subject of Great Beaujolais, we have some new arrivals worthy of your attention and have re-tasted a few of our favorites that are now showing beautifully. First, the 2015 Christian Ducroux Exspectatia - this is one of the great natural wines of France, a product of perhaps the greatest and most thoughtful vineyard work we have ever seen. The wine is extraordinary -  complex, delicious and very "alive," and should cellar well for five to eight years. Certified Biodynamic, no added SO2, best to finish the day you open it, which will be very easy...

We have been enjoying the Fleurie's of Fernand and Alain Coudert for the last twenty-five years, and we're happy to report that a little time in bottle has smoothed out the 2015s from this superb estate. The lighter "Cuvée Christal" is perfect for current drinking and the "Clos de la Roilette" and "Cuvée Tardive" are both big, gorgeous wines that are delicious now and will cellar beautifully for five to ten years. The "Cuvée Tardive" in particular shows great aging potential - a limited amount is still available.

Another of our most favorite producers is Jean-Claude Chanudet at Domaine Chamonard - his 2015 Fleurie "la Madone" is one of the finest 2015s we've tasted, with the depth and darker fruit of this vintage tempered by refreshing acidity - it's delicious now and will be superb after three to five years of aging. And Jean-Claude's 2014 Morgon "Le Clos des Lys" is superb as well in the lighter and more balanced style of the 2014s.

The wines of Joëlle and Roland Pignard deserve their own article, but we'll just mention here that their 2014s are now drinking sensationally, especialy the Morgon, and that the Morgon Cuvée Tradition, that spends an additional year in old barrels, is a delicous, prime candidate for aging. Due to the Pignard's manificent biodynamic farming, these are almong the most terroir-expressive wines in Beaujolais, and we urge you to try them!

Pignard 2014 Morgon Cuvee Tradition

While the “regular” Morgon is aged entirely in concrete vats before release, Tradition has an extended elévage in neutral barriques before release (think Griffe du Marquis from Alain Coudert). This serves to add depth to the wine, while also softening and rounding it, making for a very unique expression of the Pignards’ terroir. Exuberant on the nose with bright red and black cherry fruit, red licorice, brown spice, and strawberry compote rising from the glass. The palate is broad and supple with bright red fruit flavors along with a hint of fresh cream, tangerine peel, ample minerality, and fine-grained tannins. This wine is definitely structured to age, probably best in 5-10 years, but is lovely now in its energetic youth paired with steaks, game birds, or pork. Tim Gagnon

  • red
  • 8 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
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Chignard, Cedric 2014 Julienas Beauvernay

This is an outstanding Beaujolais from the Chignard family, better known for their lovely Fleurie "Les Moriers." Possessing the lovely fruit and balance of the 2014 vintage in Beaujolais, the Julienas "Beauvernay" shows a pretty red/black color, with elegant aromas of blackberry and red currant with violet, blood orange, earth and stone.  It's ripe and sapid but with lively acidity and perfectly proportioned at 12.5% alcohol. Morello cherry and red currant fruit with saline minerals, earth and spice coat the palate and continue in the earthy finish. Quite lovely now, this should become a beautiful mature wine with three to five years of aging, drink till 2023-2025. Highly recommended. DL

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  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
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Chignard 2014 Fleurie Les Moriers

The Chignard Fleurie "Les Moriers" is consistently one of our favorite Beaujolais, coming from a high-density vineyard of 60+ year-old vines adjacent to Moulin-a-Vent. The wine is always quite elegant, even a bit austere in it's youth, due to the less extractive winemaking of the Chignards. The 2014 is a bit more expressive and full-bodied on opening, showing intriguing aromas of ripe strawberry, blackberry, plum, citrus and earth with hints of white pepper and spice - really lovely. There is fairly dense blackberry fruit on the palate with earth and  mineral notes and firm acidity with berry fruits and mineral notes lingering in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. This is a potentially great mature Fleurie, best perhaps 2019 to 2025. Hats off to Cédric Chignard for his two beautiful 2014s!

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  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Ducroux, Christian 2015 Vin de France Exspectatia

 (We're getting to the end of Ducroux's complex and supernatural Exspectatia 2015 - be sure to grab some before it disapears. Happily we have 2015 Patience and 2016 Exspectatia on the way.)  Christian Ducroux' 5 hectare  estate has been certified organic and biodynamic since 1985, and has operated as a nearly self-sufficient farm, producing its own fertilizer and compost, and plowing and harvesting almost entirely without machinery. The vines average over 60 years of age and are replaced by massale selection, giving extremely low yields. The 2015 Exspectatia (the wine formerly known as Regnié) shows a deep opaque red/black color. Slight reduction, then vivid aromas of blackberry liqueur, blood orange, rose, black pepper, brown spices, earth and licorice. On the palate the wine is very complex with blackberry and red currant fruit, earth, spice and citrus with a long intense finish of black fruits and earth that lingers on the palate. Only 12.5% alcohol, even in this very ripe vintage. Bravo to Christian Ducroux for his beautiful farming and for this complex, expressive natural wine! Re-tasted in October 2016,  the wine showed beautifully, with remarkable complexity, intense aromas of ripe blackberry, violet, musk, pepper, licorice and earth, that continue with a dense, earthy texture on the palate. This is a living, changeable and profound wine of terroir that expresses the incredible farming and winemaking of Christian Ducroux - certainly  one of the finest natural wines of France.(Decanting advised, no added sulfur - consume on the day opened.)

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  • $16.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Coudert 2015 Fleurie Cuvée Christal

Alain Coudert makes this lovely wine from two small parcels on typical Fleurie terroir of sandy soils over decomposed granite, in contast to the heavier clay/manganese soils at the Clos de la Roilette. The 2015 is a bright garnet/red color with vivid aromas of blackberry and ripe strawberry with violet, pepper, earth and citrus. There is deep, ripe berry fruit on the palate with dark chocolate, earth and citrus with surprisingly firm acidity and brightness. This delicious Fleurie shows the richness of the 2015 vintage but remains fresh and lively - drink this beautiful Beaujolais over the next five years, served cool, with just about anything!

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Coudert (Clos de la Roilette) 2015 Fleurie Clos de la Roilette

In 2015 Alain Coudert's Clos de la Roilette is showing its historical roots in Moulin-a-Vent (as it was classified until the 1920s) as the clay soils here produced a big wine with a generous amount of alcohol in this very warm vintage. The color is a deep red/black, with aromas of ripe blackberry and black raspberry liqueur with hints of violet and blood orange backed by graphite and earth. The palate shows very ripe black fruits with earth, mineral, cocoa and leather, lifted by firm acidity in the long dense finish. This will accompany grilled meats, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. Quite delicious now in its youthful intensity, this is a great candidate for cellaring, best probably from 2019 to 2026. Highly recommended. David Lillie

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  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

Coudert (Clos de la Roilette) 2015 Fleurie Cuvée Tardive

From eighty year-old vines on clay and granite soil in Alain Coudert's beautiful Clos de la Roilette, just over the border from Moulin-a-Vent. By "Tardive," Alain Coudert implies that one should wait for this wine to mature, in this case probably about 5 to 7 years, although those unable to wait will certainly enjoy drinking it now. We're happy to report that  the 2015 Cuvée Tardive, though undoubtedly higher in alcohol than the 2014, is a big, supple, and relatively well-balanced Beaujolais that should age beautifully and is surprisingly delicious now, especially if steak or pork chops are on the menu.  The wine shows a deep red/black color with intense aromas of black raspberry liqueur, dark chocolate, violets and earth - deep but bright and very complex. The palate is dense and focused with blackberry and raspberry liqueur, cocoa, stone and citrus, with fabulous length and grip in the finish. This is showing superb potential for aging, with the higher alcohol of 2015 absorbed by the dense fruit and firm acids. Best perhaps 2020 to 2030, but delicious now as well. Bravo to Alain Coudert!

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Chamonard 2015 Fleurie La Madone

A rare and delicious Fleurie from Jean-Claude Chanudet at Domaine Chamonard! The 2015 "La Madone" shows the lush ripeness of this vintage but it's well-balanced and lifted by firm acidity and freshess at 13.5% alcohol. The wine shows deep red/black color with the more black fruit aromas of this vintage - blackberry and ripe plum with violet, mint, clove, dark chocolate and cherry liqueur. The palate is deep and supple with blackberry, red currant, earth, cocoa and citrus, brightened by citrusy acidity. This is nicely balanced, though quite ripe and powerful -  certainly one of the finest 2015s we've tasted. Enjoy now with a steak, grilled pork or lamb and full-flavored cheeses. This will repay short-term aging, probably best from 2019 to 2025. DL

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  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Chamonard 2014 Morgon Le Clos de Lys

From four hectares of massale-selection, high density plantings ranging from 50 to 100 years of age in the lieu-dits of Chenes, Corcelette, and les Martillets. Vigneron Jean-Claude Chanudet works the vineyards organically but does not seek certification. The 2014 Clos de Lys shows complex aromas of strawberry and black cherry, pepper, blood orange and musk with hints of earth and graphite. The palate is dense but not at all heavy with equal parts dark fruits and earthy flavors that continue in the long finish. After long aeration, the aromas are more focused and elegant while the palate remains a bit austere with earthy berry fruits, quite well structured, predicting good aging potential. Fans of Lapierre or Foillard should definitely try the wines from Chamonard, which are certainly among the finest of the Chauvet-style Beaujolais - this is a lovely natural Morgon that will benefit from decanting if drinking now, and will probably show best (as usual with Chamonard) at between five and ten years of age.

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Pignard 2014 Morgon

2014 proved to be an excellent vintage for many growers in Beaujolais, and we are thrilled to announce the arrival of Joelle and Roland Pignard’s wines! The vines for this cuvée are 60 years old, planted at high altitude on steep hillsides in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes," just northwest of their home in Villié-Morgon. The nose offers plummy, dusty fruit, with hints of cranberry, raspberry seed, and savory herbs. Over time it plumps up a bit showing lovely wild strawberry and morello cherry aromas along with a hint of graphite and a gamey quality. High-toned red berry fruit comes forward on the palate along with damp earth and red cherries backed by silky tannins and a crunchy minerality. Very pretty served quite cool now, but there is no doubt that this would age well over the next few years. Tim Gagnon (Tasted again in November, 2016, the wine shows deeper, sappy cherry fruit that coats the palate, and is much more supple and forward. Really a lovely Morgon that's beginning to open up - delicious right now, this will soften and develop over the next five to eight years.)

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  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pignard 2014 Régnié

The Pignards' Regnié is from 50 year-old vines on alluvial clay soils, always giving a well-structured wine. The 2014 shows subtle aromas of ripe red currant and strawberry, very floral and pure. The palate is less fruity, showing stone and mineral flavors with lighter raspberry/strawberry fruit, quite elegant, and finishing with stony acidity. This will need a few years to show at its best but is delicious now in its purity and restraint. Decant if drinking now, best probably 2019 - 2023.

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  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pignard 2015 Beaujolais-Villages

The Pignards work 4.5 hectares in and around Morgon and Regnié. Biodynamic farming, natural fermentations and minimal SO2. We've walked through their vineyards, which are absolutely beautiful — "wine is made in the vineyard" say the Pignards and it shows in the gorgeous fruit and mineral character in their wines. The 2015 Beaujolais-Villages is from 40 to 60 year-old vines on decomposed granite soils in high-elevation parcels above Morgon. The wine shows very bright aromas of  strawberry and cherry fruit with violet and citrus, quite pure and lovely. The palate is beautifully balanced for a 2015, at 13 % alcohol, with pretty berry fruits backed by saline minerals and firm acidity. This is "gouleyant" - simply delicious and easy-drinking! Serve quite cool with just about anything, and leave a few in the cellar, as this wine has the structure to age for a few years as well.

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  • 0 in stock
  • $15.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur