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Joëlle and Roland Pignard produce Biodynamic Regnié, Morgon and Beaujolais-Villages from their four and one-half hectares of hillside vineyards above Villié-Morgon. Preferring to use horse-power in the vineyard, their farming is similar to Christion Ducroux's and vinifications are with wild yeasts, with minimal extraction, seeking to emphazise balance and mineral characters in the wines. "Life in the soil is essential: we look after it by only ploughing and tilling using horse-drawn sheers; this ensures that the soil is not as compacted and that microbiotic life can develop there. Because the vines’ roots delve down deeper, they draw up more of the terroir’s characteristics." The Pignards add a tiny amount of SO2 before bottling giving a total sulfur of about 10 - 15mg per liter. The wines are remarkably pure and natural - the Regnié in particular, is one of the most "terroir" expressive wines in Beaujolais. Our new shipment from the Pignards includes the beautifully balanced 2014 Regnie. Still showing the beautiful earthiness always present in this wine, the fruit aromas and flavors on the palate have become more complex and forward - delicious now, the wine will continue to improve over the next five years. Their 2015 Morgons are two of the most harmonious and lovely wines from this sometimes over-ripe and awkward vintage. At 13% alcohol and possessing firm acidity and mineral flavors underlying the lush, complex fruit, these are irresistible wines for current drinking, although cellaring of five to eight years would be very interesting. Joelle and Roland make a tiny amount of fresh and delicious Beaujolais-Villages from a small, high-elevation parcel of 40 year-old vines, grown on sandy clay soils over granite. The 2016 Pignard Beaujolais-Villages is a "serious" and beautifully balanced Beaujolais showing lovely aromas over a well-structured and very mineral palate. "Wine is made in the vineyard" and the Pignard's vineyard work is extraordinary, as are their careful natural vinifications. These are among the most distinctive wines in the Beaujolais and they offer superb value as well.
Georges Descombes is one of the finest growers in the Beaujolais, and he produced lovely, ripe and sapid wines in 2015. The Morgon and Regnié listed below are the last of stock (the 2016s are on the way) so Beaujolais fans should grab some before they disappear...!
(Our note from 2017) The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is ripe, dense and delicious in 2015! Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from hillside vineyards of sandy clay over limestone in "Les Charmes," the wine ferments naturally, with only 10mg of SO2 added before bottling and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The wine shows aromas of blackberry liqueur with earth, spice, citrus and herbal notes. The palate is silky and supple with ripe black fruits, bitter chocolate, earth, spice and citrus - having some aspects of northern Rhone wines in this very warm, dry vintage. The finsh is long with fruit liqueur, spice and citrusy acids. This shows the density and darker fruit flavors of the 2015 vintage but in a more balanced frame at 13% alcohol. Delicious now in it's youthful intensity, probably best from 2020 to 2025. David Lillie
The Pignard's Beaujolais-Villages is from a high-elevation parcel with 40 year-old vines in sandy clay over decomposed granite. There is a very short carbonic-maceration to preserve the fresh fruit and only a tiny addition of sulfur before the bottling. The 2016 is a subtle, elegant and well-structured Beaujolais, hosting aromas of cherry, blackberry, and red apple skins, with a light presence of dark flowers. On the palate, there are flavors of dark cherry and essences of fresh, woodsy earth. The structure is lean, with clean minerality. This is a real Beaujolais of terroir that is elegant and delicious now and will improve over the next few years.
(Our notes from 2017) We are big fans of the 2014 vintage in Beaujolais and we were very happy to get another shipment of the lovely 2014 Regnié from Joëlle and Roland Pignard. The wine is opening up nicely with pretty aromas of ripe strawberry and black cherry mingling with earth, rose, truffle and brown spice. The palate has softened a bit with bright strawberry, cherry and red currant over the saline minerals and earth with citrus and herbal notes. The wine is subtle and perfectly balanced at 12% alcohol - a real Regnié of terroir that will continue to improve over the next few years. Delicous wine! (Notes from August 2016 below)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.
(Our note from 2017) We're very proud to have the lovely Morgons of Roland Pignard at Chambers Street. 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 the hamlet of Saint-Joseph above Villié-Morgon. Biodynamic farming, with no SO2 added until a minimal dose before bottling. The fermentation is with wild yeasts with a relatively short period of carbonic-maceration. The 2015 Morgon shows a vivid deep red color with complex aromas of ripe black cherry and black raspberry, wild flowers, earth and black pepper. The palate is ripe and supple with black raspberry and cherry fruit, brightened by firm acidity with hints of orange peel and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with lingering black fruits, citrus and mineral flavors. At 13% alcohol, this beautiful Morgon shows the ripeness of the 2015 vintage but in a balanced and nuanced style with a complexity and mineral character found in few of the 2015s. Delicious now, best 2020 to 2025, but who will wait? David Lillie
Georges Descombes, one of the finest producers in Beaujolais, captured the lush fruit of the 2015 vintage with moderate alcohol (13%), lovely aromas and silky, supple fruit on the palate. Blackberry, red currant and violet aromas with hints of meat and chocolate; the palate is quite ripe and pretty with nice balancing acidity and freshness - we miss the more delicate, complex fruit of the 2014, but this is a delicious Morgon in a riper style that will drink beautifully over the next five years. Serve with charcuterie, grilled pork and roast chicken, slightly chilled. DL
This delicious Regnié shows a vivid red/black color and lush aromas of blackberry liqueur with hints of violet, bitter chocolate and citrus. Ripe, supple berry fruits coat the palate, which is quite well-balanced for a 2015, blackberry and black cherry with lovely length of fruit lingering in the finish which is lifted by firm acidity. This is a great success for the vintage and will provide joyful drinking for the next five years! DL