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A rare and delicious Fleurie from Jean-Claude Chanudet at Domaine Chamonard! Since taking over from his father-in-law (Joseph Chamonard) in 1990, Jean-Claude has been keeping the beautiful natural traditions of this estate alive. This Fleurie comes from a single parcel of older vines planted on a steep slope of pink granite soils, farmed by hand without the use of any chemicals. 2018 is a great vintage for the Chamonard Fleurie, showing a deep dark red color and ripe fruit compote aromas - a lovely melange of cherry and black raspberry with violet and citrus notes. The palate is lush, with an earthy texture, showing ripe, well-structured black fruits and finishing with firm acidity and tart black cherry. This is superb now but should open up beautifully with a few years of cellaring. Drink until 2035? Highly recommended. David Lillie
The step-son of Georges Descombes, Damien has worked alongside him since early childhood. L earning everything from Descombes in the vines and shared cellar has instilled the same values in Damien's work ethic: organic viticulture, hand harvesting, native yeasts, zero intervention in the cellar and little if any sulfur at bottling.The 2019 Chiroubles is a particularly pretty, old fashioned Beaujolais, showing gorgeous aromas of raspberry and rose with spice and citrus notes. The palate shows sappy raspberry fruit, really lovely, ripe and persistent but light and balanced with refreshing acidity. There is nice length of earthy berry fruit in the long finish. Serve cool with chicken and white meats, and anything grilled this summer. Lovely wine!
Damien Coquelet, working in the same stlye as his step-father Georges Descombes, has once again created some beautifully old-fashioned Beaujolais in 2019. The Morgon Cote de Py shows lovely aromas of raspberry, strawberry, citrus and rose, very pretty and bright. The palate shows a bit more stucture and darker fruit than the Damien's Chiroubles and is particularly sapid in the ripe 2019 vintage, with deep strawberry fruit, a bit of citrus and a more earthy character. The finish is refreshing and long with juicy berry fruit and firm acidity. Serve quite cool with chicken and white meats, grilled foods and charcuterie. Lovely wine.
Georges Descombes is one of the great producers of natural Beaujolais - 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 2018 shows beautifully ripe but high-toned red fruits, with lovely aromas of strawberry, blackberry and violet with herbal and citrus notes. The palate is fresh and mineral, a bit lighter and brighter than the Morgon, infused with berry fruits and citrusy acids, and the finish is long and elegant. This is a lovely food-friendly Brouilly to serve, quite cool, with chicken, pork, charcuterie and mild cheeses. David Lillie
Georges Descombes is one of the premiere vignerons in Beaujolais. His farming is certified organic and his winemaking is very traditional; using native yeasts, semi-carbonic maceration, and very little sulfur added at bottling.The 2018 Morgon showed beautifully, tasted with Georges in early February, a bit fuller and deeper than the Regnié and Brouilly, showing ripe aromas of raspberry and strawberry with elegant strawbery liqueur, earth and minerals on the palate with terrific length. It's a gorgeous wine that should be served slightly chilled with just about anything - enjoy over the next three to five years. David Lillie
Pretty young to be checking in on the old vines cuvée, but these are unusual times to say the least. Dark ruby, verging in purple robe. Dusty crushed blackberries, violets, and a brambly note on the nose. Nothing roasted or overripe here, despite the black fruit. The palate is mid-weight and has fine sap and vigor, with succulent ripeness and plenty of dry extract to buffer the firm—not stern—tannins. There’s good tension between the bright, ripe, concentrated fruit and the substantial mineral core. The finish is long and layered with good lift and fine persistence. There’s good structure here and while this has plenty of charm now, this ought to dazzle with 5-7 years in the cellar and beyond. And while the prices have crept up, this is a steal given its breed and rivals plenty of very good villages wines from my beloved Côte d’Or in character and complexity. John McIlwain
This is a new cuvee for Julien Guillot, using certified organic fruit from two parcels in Chenas: "Les Petites Pierres" - 60 year-old vines on granite stones and clay over granite bedrock, and "Gandelins" - 80 year-old vines in a south-facing vineyard on decomposed granite, bordering Moulin-a-Vent. Tasted last winter during our usual sprint through the many bottles and barrels at Vignes du Maynes, the wine showed complex red fruit aromas with black raspberry and strawberry fruit with earth and mint, quite elegant and silky textured, with terrific length. No added SO2. 36 btls for the US.
Now we're talking! This feels several levels up from the villages, with a fruit profile leaning more toward ripe strawberry and black cherry and more intensity in the mid-palate on the way to a long and fairly mouthwatering finish. There is plenty of savory white pepper and brambly underbrush character to give depth here but no heaviness or alcohol fatigue. This is quite excellent and will serve you well whether you choose to drink it now or in a few years time. Sam Ehrlich
2019 Jean-Claude Lapau Brouilly VV. On a fine spring night (after a particularly raw one) what better way to spend the evening than catching up on samples. Some hits, some misses, and some of which we needn’t speak. What do we have here but the Brouilly VV from dedicated bio vigneron Lapalu, a grower whose wines I remember fondly from the 2014 vintage. The wine has a brilliant dark ruby robe and a slight prickle of CO2. Is this the bright fresh Beaujolais a certain Berkeley wine merchant described in his book? Seems it is. The palate is racy and lithe on the attack, all cherry, cherry stone, and bosky raspberry tang. The slight spritz reinforces that wild berry sensation—so ripe, so fresh, so juicy! But for all the bramble and fruits du bois exuberance, there is a definitive spine of graphite, granular stone to place this in one of the Beaujolais crus. And this nearly stern core frames all the joyous fruit and keeps it from veering into blowsy or insubstantial. But it’s that same bumptious gamay expressiveness that beckons one for the next sip and the sip after that. Quite a feat and a fine quality with a pan-roasted pork chop with a mustard/ramp pan sauce, and preceding saucisson. There’s enough character and savory soil tone here to warrant opening a bottle with a lamb navarin, or better still a morel ragout over polenta. This is lovely stuff and its vibrant character is a piquant reminder that Beaujolais is above all a wine to quench thirst and spark joy at the table.
Jean-Paul Brun's Chardonnay comes 35 year-old vines grown on sandy clay and limestone soils in the southern Beaujolais and is raised in stainless steel, with occasional use of old barrels (no new oak!). Bright aromas of peach, apricot, lemon zest, and thyme lead to flavors of pure white fruits, juicy lime, crisp orange blossom, subtle herbal undertones, and a long chalky finish. Paired with salad, seafood,chicken, goat milk cheeses, or nothing at all, this is a beautiful choice and great value in white Burgundy!
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. The 2018 shows lovely aromas of cherry and red currant liqueur with a touch of rose petal, cocoa and spice. The palate is ripe but balanced by refreshing acidity, showing pretty red fruits with earth and mineral flavors, with a silky, slightly grainy texture, finishing with nice length of sappy fruit and firm acidity. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. "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
L'Ancien comes from Jean Paul Brun's home village of Charnay in the southern Beaujolais. The vines range in age from 40 to 60 years old and are planted on slopes sporting the area's signature sandy clay-limestone soils, featuring the particular local "dorée" or "golden" limestone that is laden with iron. These older vines have always been farmed organically and harvested by hand and yield small, thick-skinned Gamay berries. As for all Terres Dorées reds, the vinification is traditional Burgundian rather than the normal carbonic maceration in Beaujolais. The palate shows lush, ripe berry fruits backed by citrusy acidity, quite refreshing. The finish is long and sappy with bright red fruits and tart acidity - stock-up on this crowd-pleasing Beaujolais!