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This is absolutely my kind of Beaujolais and truly magnificent wine. It is spilling over with really pure ripe strawberry - fruit as vivid as those I received from my CSA the same weekend. But despite the intensity of the fruit character, there is no sense of heaviness or clumsiness or excess alcohol. The wine is juicy and buoyant, with terrific acidity to balance out the ample red fruit. Honestly, trying to describe this wine in the usual fashion is pointless. Great cru Beaujolais is something I tasted a lot of early in my career and what I loved was the pleasure it inspires. I drank this bottle over three days and not only did it not fade, it stayed vibrant, shedding some baby fat and allowing more of the minerality to emerge. Utterly astonishing. Sam Ehrlich
As much as I love Burgundy, there are times that the occasion calls for a beautiful Beaujolais. And a sticky night in June is just such an occasion. And with a magret of duck from the Greenmarket and sautéed tatsoi, the newly-arrived Georges Descombes 2019 Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes beckons. The robe is a marvelous mulberry purple. The nose is perfumed, with pretty notes of black raspberry, wild cherry, graphite, and spice. The ripe (but lithe) palate balances a juicy freshness of red berry and plum character with a fine-grained, earthy undercurrent of structure. But at the moment the ebullient fruit is singing with grilled duck breast (though I wouldn’t hesitate to pair with salmon, roasted zucchini and carrots with salsa verde, or saucisson) and playing off the bitterness of the mustard greens on the plate. This is a cracking bottle of Chiroubles that welcomes a light chill and seemingly banishes humidity. This should be a pleasure to taste over the next couple nights and warrants socking away a few bottles for a more mature drinking experience. This is sensational and but for a little granitic spice, this rivals the magical 2014 Regnié VV for sheer joy. John McIlwain
Charbonnières is a parcel in Fleurie that the folks at Domaine Chapel acquired from Yves Metras. Considered their "best" vineyard, this is a classic granite parcel known to produce high quality fruit. This is an impressive and very developed Fleurie, with subtle structure, spice, and mellow fruit profile. It will certainly reward those who have the patience to wait another 3-5 years (or more for that matter), but is in a lovely place now, especially with a short decant or a half hour to breathe. -EL
A welcome discovery and great new addition to the shelves here at CSW, the Chasselay "Beaujolais Is Not Dead" is utterly classic and joyous Beaujolais village. The Chasselay family has thirteen hectares spread across eight appellations and have been certified organic since 2006. BIND comes from a single parcel of forty-five year old vines planted in clay and limestone, fermented carbonically and aged entirely in concrete, with no sulfur added until bottling. It is full of lovely concentrated red fruit, strawberry and raspberry, with beautiful spice and floral notes and no shortage of freshness. On the Chasselay website, they describe the wine as digeste, which is a word I have always loved - it implies a lack of heaviness, that the wine will not take up space as one keeps drinking. So buy two of these (or three or four), as you definitely want another. Sam Ehrlich **Arrives Wednesday 8/18**
Julien Guillot's 2018 "Ultimatum Climat" is from a parcel in the soutern Beaujolais called "Les Pierres Bleues" - it's a gorgeous Beaujolais 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 metamorphic 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. Deep red/black color: slight reduction then bright strawberry and raspberry fruit, violet, graphite, earth, licorice and citrus. The palate shows lush blackberry and raspberry fruit, creamy and sapid but backed with firm acidity, with violet, earth and citrus notes that continue in the long supple finish. Really delicious and nicely balanced for a 2018 - drink now or cellar for 5 to 8 years for a mature experience.
Starting with beautiful biodynamic grapes from Roland Pignard on "les Charmes" in Morgon, Julien worked his magic in the cellar with his zero-sulfur semi-carbonic vinification and the result is this superb Morgon from great terroir. The wine shows the ripeness of this excellent vintage in Beaujolais and the intense flavors of terroir always present in the Pignard wines over the years. Julien's vinification has created a beautifully balanced and pretty wine with fabulous length - drink now or cellar 5 to 10 years, only 36 btls in the US... DL
(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
(Our note from 2018) We're very proud to have the lovely Morgons of Roland Pignard at Chambers Street. From high-elevation 50 to 60 year-old vines in the commune of Saint-Joseph north-west of Villié-Morgon, in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes. Biodynamic farming, no SO2 until a minimal dose before bottling, with a relatively short period of carbonic-maceration. The wine shows a bright medium red color with elegant aromas of black raspberry, black chery and earth with rose and violet. The palate is deep and ripe with firm acidity but stays light on its feet at 12.5% alcohol, with black and red fruits and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. The "Tradition" cuvée is slightly rounder and deeper, but there is little difference between the wines in this super vintage for the Pignards. Serve cool with chicken and pork dishes, and put a few bottles away for five years as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
(Our note from 2018) The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is simply superb in 2016. Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from steep hillside vineyards, the wine ferments naturally, with approximately 10mg of SO2 added and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The 2016 vintage was a difficult one for the growers, resulting in low yields, but with a sunny late season that produced beautiful wines with pure fruit, light to medium body and firm acidity. The 2016 Morgon Tradition is a superb wine, showing a deep red color and aromas of ripe morello cherry, strawberry and black raspberry liqueur, with violet, rose, orange peel and earth. There is berry liqueur on the palate which is dense and long but not heavy. It's well balanced and bright at 12.5 % alcohol, finishing with sappy black fruits, citrus and earth. Serve in it's vibrant youth with steak frites, charcuterie, coq au vin and cow cheeses. This will be worth cellaring, best perhaps 2022 - 2030. Highly recommended. David Lillie
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!
Jean-Paul Brun's Chardonnay comes from 35 year-old vines grown on sandy clay and limestone soils in the southern Beaujolais and is raised in stainless steel (no 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 has never faltered in making some of our favorite, classic wines from Beaujolais. He always vinifies his rosé traditionally preferring Burgundian winemaking to the Beaujolais norm of carbonic maceration, and given the results, we agree! It is light, pale pink in color with fresh strawberry, red raspberry, and a hint of orange blossom. This wine is perfect for outdoor drinking this summer, with or without food. Pure vin de soif!