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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. Jean-Claude Chanudet and his wife Geneviève (Chamonard) at Domaine Chamonard are making some of the finiest wines in the Beaujolais. His father-in-law, Joseph Chamonard, was farming with organic methods and making wine in the Chauvet style along with his friends in Morgon, Guy Breton, Jean Thevenet, Marcel Lapierre and Jean Foillard. The 4 hectare estate is farmed with great care, although not certified organic, fermentations are with wild yeasts and aging is in large old casks and foudres. The wines are enjoyable young but have a great ability to age, even for 10 to 20 years. The 2017 shows a medium red/purple color with very pretty aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, wild strawberry and violet with citrus peel and earth. The palate shows sappy raspberry and cherry fruit with earth and mineral flavors, really showing the terroir. This is delicious now and shows a structure indicating ten to fifteen years of possible aging. David Lillie
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 Coquelet has worked alongside him since early childhood. Damian's 2016 Chiroubles VV is a beautiful wine showing bright aromas of ripe raspberry, morello chery, violet and citrus, really quite pretty. There is a lively mineral attack on the palate with earthy plum, cherry and raspberry fruit that is sappy, earthy and long. Quite lovely now, this should really sing after a few years of cellaring. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Damien Coquelet, working in the same stlye as his step-father Georges Descombes, has once again created some beautifully old-fashioned Beaujolais in 2017. 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, with sappy 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.
2018 is proving to be a superb vintage for Beaujolais, with lush, vibrant fruit and nice brightness despite the slightly higher than usual alcohol - the Damien Coquelet Beaujolais-Villages is a beautiful example and just a joyful wine! The wine shows a deep bright red color and aromas of crushed raspberry and strawberry with violet and citrus notes. The palate shows ripe sappy red and black fruits, pure and bright, lifted by citrusy acidity, with a nice earthy texture beneath the lush fruit that lingers in the long juicy finish. Serve cool for immense enjoyment over the next three or four years! David Lillie
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, which borders Moulin-a-Vent. The 2018 is a bright garnet/red color with vivid aromas of black cherry and ripe strawberry with violet, cocoa, earth and citrus. There is deep, ripe berry fruit on the palate, sappy and long, framed in grainy earth and citrus - showing the granite soils. This delicious full-bodied Fleurie shows the richness of the 2018 vintage but remains fresh and lively - drink this beautiful Beaujolais over the next three to five years, served cool, with just about anything!
(Tasting note from September, 2017) The Descombes Regnié Vieilles Vignes is superb in 2014, showing lovely aromas of red currant and strawberry, violet, orange peel, brown spice and soil. There is velvety strawberry and blackberry compote on the palate with rose, pomegranate, earth and citrus. The finish is long with lemony acidity, mineral flavors and pretty red fruits. This is a complex and beautifully balanced Regnié that is delicious now, with aeration, and it should be superb from 2019 to 2026+. Highly recommended. David Lillie
The Georges Descombes Regnie VV is a big, beautiful Gamay in this vintage known for ripe, full-bodied wines. The wine shows a deep red/black color and very floral aromas of ripe blackberry and red currant with hints of black cherry, earth and chocolate. The palate is deep and silky with surprisingly bright red currant and black cherry fruit liqueur, meaty and earthy, with a nice mineral kick in the long, lush finish. Serve this delicious Regnie with a steak or grilled meats and put a few in the basement for ten to fifteen years.
A relatively new offering from Georges Descombes, made from purchased fruit in organic/biodynamic farming. This is a beautiful Chardonnay showing elegant aromas of lime-flower, ripe pear and exotic fruit with almond and candied citrus. The palate is silky and beautifully balanced with ripe stone fruits, a bit of buttery oak and vibrant citrus and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. This is a delightful white Burgundy that will accompany fish or chicken in sauce, white meats and cow cheeses - it's a tiny production and well worth trying. David Lillie
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 2017 shows just a bt more ripeness and softer fruit than the 2016 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...
The 2017 Regnié from Geroges Descombes is a finely balanced wine, even in a warmer vintage, Ripe and generous fruit is offset with lively acidity and a vivid intensity on the palate that keeps this wine lifted and fresh. On the nose there are aromas of red and black currant, strawberry, raspberry, black cherry, rose, violets, and licorice. The palate has soft and finely integrated tannins and shows notes of strawberry and raspberry compote, cranberry, blackberry, pomegranate, orange peel, baking spice and a granitic minerality, especially on the complex and satisfying finish. This is a very versatile wine, and I wouldn't hesitate to pair with a wide range of foods, from roast chicken, to burgers or even a pork chop. It was equally at home accompanying the watching of a movie on the couch with just a little, hastily composed cheese plate for backup. A joyful wine for all occasions. Oskar Kostecki
Known for the Vignes du Maynes wines from Cruzille, in the south of Burgundy, Julien Guillot has had the chance over the years to take long term leases on a few vineyards south of Macon in the Beaujolais. Due to issues with frost and hail in 2016, and to the loss of a rental vineyard to an old owner who decided to tear out vines, this vintage of the "Climat" is a combination of grapes from Chenas and from a vineyard called "Pierres Bleues" which is near Villefranche. Chenas is all granite, and Pierres Bleues is limestone. The wines fermented and aged separately and were blended a few months before bottling. From what I percieve, there's hint of granitic spiciness from Chenas, and some lift and energy from the limestone site. There's lovely fresh rasberry fruit on the attack, and a very mineral, stony finish. Fresh and elegant at 12.5%. Eben Lillie
The Lapalu "La Croix des Rameaux" is from numerous parcels on decomposed granite soils, averaging 60 years of age with the oldest being 90 years-old, south-west exposure. Three week semi-carbonic fermentation, aged in old barrels, not fined or filtered, only 10 mg/l of SO2, production about 200 cases. We always love the "Croix des Rameaux" and the 2018 is outstanding, showing lush, deep aromas of ripe strawberry and black fruits with earth and spice. The palate is very elegant with a firm mineral core, showing strawberry and cherry liqueur with brown spice, plum and citrus, the finish is long and firm. Decant if drinking now, best to wait 3 to 5 years then drink until 2030+ David Lillie
2018 is a great vintage for the Morgon from Mathieu and Camille Lapierre. The wine shows lovely deep aromas of blackberry liqueur and earth, and there's an underlying complexity to this wine that is perhaps overshadowed by the joyful, smile-inducing fruit that jumps out of the glass. Though a candidate for aging 5 to 8+ years, it's drinking beautifully now and will be perfect with upcoming holiday meals with a light chill. -EL
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 2018 shows a bright deep red color. The aromas are high-toned and ripe with red currant, raspberry and wild strawberry, quite bright and floral. 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!
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
The Thévenet Morgon VV is always one of the greatest of Beaujolais. From 4.75 hectares near Le Clachet, from vines averaging 70 years of age, with some planted before World War One. About 2,000 cases are produced. Vineyard work is biodynamic, fermentation is with wild yeasts at a moderately low temperature (10 - 13 degrees Celsius). Aging is mostly in old barrels from DRC with minimal extraction. The 2018 Vieilles Vignes is a superb Morgon, that retains all it's complex, earthy character while showing the beautiful ripeness of this outstanding vintage. On opening the wine shows a potpourri of bright red and black fruits with cherry skin and black raspberry, spice, citrus and earth. The palate is silky, but with firm earthy tannins, with sappy cherry/raspberry/strawberry fruit framed in grainy minerality which continues in the long complex finish. This will need some time to reveal its secrets, please give it a long decant if drinking now, best to cellar three to five years and drink until 2032+