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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.
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
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
Georges Descombes is one of the great producers of natural Beaujolais and we're very happy to have the first of his 2014s in the store. The Descombes Brouilly comes from 3.5 hectares on steep slopes, farmed organically. Carbonic maceration with whole clusters then a slow vertical press to finish the fermentation. No additives, a small addition of SO2 before bottling. The 2014 shows the pretty, ripe fruit of this vintage with lovely aromas of strawberry, blackberry and violet with herbal and citrus notes. The palate is fresh and mineral infused with berry fruits and citrusy acids. This is a lovely food-friendly Brouilly to serve, quite cool, with chicken, pork, charcuterie and mild cheeses...
Georges Descombes is one of the finest wine-makers in Beaujolais, consistently producing stylish, balanced wines which benefit from his great vineyard work and careful vinifications with minimal sulfur dioxide. The 2014 Morgon is a beautiful, perfectly balanced wine that is delicious now and over the next three to five years. Lovely garnet color, pretty, quite floral raspberry/strawberry aromas with citrus, spice and herbal notes. the palate is light but has good density and supple, pure berry fruit with earthy citrus and mineral flavors in the long finish. 12.5% alcohol. Highly recommended.
"Faites des vins peu alcoolisés avec un joli parfum" said Jules Chauvet (Make wines low in alcohol and with lovely aromas) and no one does this better than Christian Ducroux! Despite the frost, hail, mildew and low yields of 2016, the Prologue is a superb, joyous wine showing bright floral aromas of violet, rose, raspberry and wild strawberry with earth and pepper. At 11% alcohol, the palate is light and silky, showing raspberry, strawberry and mineral flavors with earth, pepper and anise, finishing with refreshing acidity and cool berry fruits. Just lovely! Christian is a master of zero-additive winemaking - the wine is alive and changeable, totally natural and refreshing. Drinking in one sitting is advised and almost unavoidable. Christian's vineyard work is among the best in the world - his vineyards are an oasis of responsible agriculture in the eroded, herbicided landscape around him and his tractor rests in the barn as the two draught horses and bull do all the work. Bravo to Christian Ducroux!
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 fertilzer 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. Really a profound wine of terroir that expresses the incredilble 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)
Certified organic since 2009, the Dutraive family's Domaine de la Grand Cour produces subtle, traditional wines from their 9 hectares in Fleurie and a small parcel in Brouilly. Harvested by hand, the grapes ferment with wild yeasts in carbonic maceration, without addition of sulfur. The "Clos de la Grand Cour" is aged in a combination of cuve inox, barrels and foudres. The 2015 shows penetrating aromas of ripe strawberry and black cherry with pepper, iris, violet and earth. Elegant blackberry, plum-skin, licorice and earth on the palate, very deep and long, framed in firm acidity and quite powerful at 14.5% alcohol. This will be quite delicious now, served with steak, grilled pork, duck and strong cheeses, but should benefit from a few years of aging, best perhaps 2018 to 2022.
France Gonzalvez is making lovely natural Beaujolais and has succeeded in making a vibrant, well-balanced Cote de Brouilly in this vintage of frequent over-ripeness and high alcohol. The wine shows deep ripe aromas of blackberry liqueur with citrus, violet and cocoa, with lighter berry fruits on the bright and lively palate - quite ripe but with fresh acidity, very pure and long. Serve cool and decant if drinking now, perhaps best 2018 - 2025. DL
Julien Guillot of the Clos des vignes du Maynes makes this beautiful Beaujolais from a small parcel of 90 year-old Gamay vines of various old varieties in Leynes, just south of Pouilly-Fuissé. The parcel is at 1200 ft in altitude, with granite soils, giving a light but remarkably intense wine at 11.5% alcohol. The wine shows aromas of ripe blackberry, violets and earth, with hints of citrus and spice. Blackberry, plum and strawberry on the palate with firm citrusy acids, earth and mineral flavors. This is an outstanding natural Beaujolais - serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and full-flavored cheeses. David Lillie
Julien Guillot's 2014 Les Pierres Bleues is a gorgeous Beaujolais-Villages combining elegance and structure with beautiful fruit, for current drinking and medium-term cellaring. The vines are more than 100 years-old located in the commune of Bully on an ancient volcanic rift. The subsoil is limestone with sandy clay and dark blue metamophic rocks, giving a strong salinity to the wine. The vineyard is in organic/biodynamic farming and the wine is produced in the Vignes du Maynes carbonic method with zero sulfur added. The wine shows deep red/black color, with aromas of spicy blackberry, black cherry, ripe strqwberry and violet with hints of blood orange, graphite and chocolate. The palate is well-structured with chalky acidity supporting dense, earthy red and black fruits and a nice mineral core. The finish is long with ripe fruits, earth and bright acidity. This is a lovely natural wine that should be decanted or opened in advance and will benefit from 3 to 5 years of aging. David Lillie
Julien Guillot makes this lovely natural Chénas with grapes purchased from a friend working organically near La Chapelle-de-Guinchay, with zero added sulfites. (The label was created for the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009) The 2014 is an intense and beautiful botlle of Beaujolais, showing fresh ripe blackberry with a bit of violet, pepper, musk, earth and citrus. The palate is dense and vibrant with firm acidity and deep blackberry fruit, earth and licorice with saline minerals coating the mouth in the long intense finish. Carafe a few hours in advance if drinking now or cellar 3 to 5 years - drink until 2025.
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
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.
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.
Jean-Paul Brun of Domaine des Terres Dorées has 2 parcels of 50 year-old vines on a steep section of Mont Brouilly with a south-east exposition at about 1,000 ft of altitude. The thin soil is almost entirely stones of granite with a high iron content. (A more interesting terroir than the thicker, damper soils of Brouilly.) This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely, ripe blackberry and raspberry/strawberry fruit aromas with a touch of violets and earth. The palate is ripe but balanced (at 12.5% alcohol) with black and red fruit liqueur and fresh citrusy acids that linger in the finish. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. Highly recommended! "Contains very little sulfite," says the label "store in a cool place and consume rapidly after uncorking" We haven't noticed any problem keeping this wine, but consuming rapidly after uncorking will be easy... DL
Located in the village of Charnay in southern Beaujolais, Jean-Paul Brun quietly makes some of the most classic wines of the region on his family’s 40-acre estate. All of the wines are allowed to ferment with native yeasts and minimal amounts of sulfur are employed ensuring fresh, lively wines. Brun’s Beaujolais Blanc is made from 100% Chardonnay that comes from 80+-year-old vines planted in clay and limestone soils. On the nose luscious green apple fruit mingles with poached pear and citrus zest. The palate does have some weight, but this is a lean, sharp wine with a sturdy mineral backbone. It’s really quite amazing to drink such a precise wine for such a value! Tim Gagnon