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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.
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.
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...
George Descombes consistently makes some of our favorite wines in Beaujolais, and the his village wines are some of the best values in the region. George works the vines organically, ferments using only native yeasts and whole cluster, semi-carbonic maceration and bottles with minimal sulpher, creating expressions of Beaujolias that are fruit-driven, but with beautiful minerality and aging potential. His vines in Morgon are planted on soils of sand/gravel and decomposing granite. The 2017 is a beautiful medley of ripe red fruit: wild raspberries, dark cherry, red currants and pomegranate. It is balanced with floral aromatics of rose and violets, and an underlying earthy leafiness. There is great depth to the fruit, and the wine is carried to a long and satisfying finish by soft, ripe, and very well integrated tannins and good acidity. A hint of crunchy minerality rounds this out perfectly. Oskar Kostecki
Christian Ducroux' 5 hectare estate has been organic and biodynamic since 1985, and has operated as a nearly self-sufficient farm, producing its own fertilizer 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 and low levels of alcohol. Christian's farming is among the most thoughtful and inspired practiced anywhere in the world and his wines express this work in a joyful natural way. "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 - the 2018 Prologue weighs in at a hefty 11.5% alcohol due to the extra ripeness of what is shaping up to be a great vintage in Beaujolais, and shows a fairly dark red/black color with lush aromas of crushed raspberry, strawberry and blackberry (!) with bright floral notes and hints of roast meat and citrus. The palate is lush, bright and supple with ripe black raspberry, citrus, earth and mineral flavors. This lively, very alive and simply beautiful wine takes you into the soils of Ducroux's vineyards and is a tonic for the soul. Zero added sulfur, keep cool - highly recommended for lovers of natural wines. David Lillie
(Tasted from three different barrels, January 2019) Ripe plum and berry fruit aromas, blackberry liqueur. The palate is deep, long and elegant with red current, raspberry and blackberry fruit, terrific length of fruit and stone, balanced and bright. This is both a superb natural wine and a great wine of terroir. Probably best 2022 - 2030. Thank-you, Christian Ducroux! David Lillie
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.
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, showing pretty aromas of raspberry, plum and tart cherry, with hints of violet, citrus and herbs. The palate shows firm acidity and saline mineral flavors, framing the blackberry and raspberry fruit, with hints of mint, spice and citrus. This is a real Beaujolais of terroir that is elegant and delicious now and will improve over the next few years. David Lillie
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
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
Jean-Paul Brun of Domaine des Terres Dorées has 2 parcels of 50 to 60 year-old vines on a steep section of Mont Brouilly with a south-east exposition at about 1,000 ft of altitude. Here the soil is all stones, mostly a blue volcanic rock rather than the granite soils prevalent in the Beaujolais. This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely aromas of ripe blackberry and bright fruits such as boysenberry and red currant, very floral with violets, citrus, cocoa and earth. The palate is ripe but balanced (at 12.5% alcohol) with very sappy black and red fruit liqueur with mineral salts and citrusy acids that linger in the lush finish. (Note that the vinification for this wine is the classic Burgundy method rather than the usual semi-carbonic practised in the Beaujolais.) A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. Highly recommended! David Lillie