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The young Damien Coquelet, under the guidance of this step-father Georges Descombes, is making some of the prettiest wines in the Beaujolais. Organic farming, wild yeasts and minimal sulfur. This wine is from old vines formerly part of the Domaine Savoye-Descombes. This needs some time to awaken then shows bright, subtle strawberry fruit, floral and herbal with citrus and spice. The palate is soft with earthy raspberry/strawberry fruit in a light style with bright acidity. At 12% alcohol, it's not a fruuit bomb, but will nicely accompany vegetarian and lighter meat dishes, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
2018 is an excellent vintage for Alain Coudert - reminiscent of the ripeness of 2009 but with firmer structure and brighter fruit. The Clos de la Roilette shows a deep red/black color, with lush aromas of cassis, black cherry, pomegranate and blackberry - very complex - with hints of blood orange, licorice and spice. The palate is dense and deep showing the Moulin-a-Vent side of Fleurie, with juicy black fruits backed with firm acidity and mineral flavors. The finish is long with sappy fruit liqueur and earthy acidity. It's a big wine but quite balanced and well-structured - open well in advance if drinking now, or cellar for three to five years then drink until 2030. This is a classic Clos de la Roilette and is highly recommended. 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
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
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
(Tasted from three different barrels, January 2019) Ripe plum and berry fruit aromas, blackberry liqueur, earth, rose, licorice. The palate is deep, long and elegant with earthy red current, blackberry fruit, minerals and firm acidity, 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. We think Christian practices some of the best farming we've ever seen - his soils are covered with thick growth, even in winter and fruit trees grow between the vines. His tehniques are complex and intelligent, the product of forty years of experience with organic and biodynamic farming. Thank-you, Christian Ducroux! David Lillie
The "Cuvée des Fous" is sourced from two parcels with an average of 80+ year old vines in warmer areas of Brouilly. Half a hectare is from the oldest vines of the domaine planted in 1900. Whole cluster semi-carbonic fermentation and a bit more extraction than his other cuvées, aged 6-8 months in neutral barrel, then assembled into tank for 1 month before bottling. No fining or filtration, no SO2 added. The 2018 shows a quite dark red/black color with aromas of strawberry and cherry liqueur, the palate is very deep and ripe with earth and meat underlying the ripe red and black fruits, lifted with nice brightness and firm acidity in the very long and mineral finish. Lovely wine! David 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
The Lapalu "Alma Mater" is made from multiple parcels on sandy granite soils: carbonic fermentation in concrete vats with whole clusters. Gentle maceration but no punch downs or punch overs to minimize extractions. Pressed with a traditional basket press. The wine is aged 7 months on the skins in amphora, with a permanent exchange with the "terre" (earth) in this vessel. ("Antidote to oxygen, thus eliminating need for sulfur" says the importer.) Pressed to tank and settled for 3 weeks, no fining or filtration, no SO2 added. The 2018 "Alma Mater" is an intriguing and delicious wine showing complex aromas of bright, pure raspberry fruit, quite earthy and meaty. The palate was a bit closed when tasted in early September, but showing elegant deep red fruits with hints of mint, roast meats and licorice. This needs time but should be a profound mature Beaujolais. 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
The 2018 Perraud Saint-Amour is a vibrant and beautiful natural Beaujolais! The wine is from 40 year-old vines in organic farming, soils of sandy granite and small stones, vinified, aged and bottled with zero additives. The wine shows exuberant, floral aromas of black fruit liqueur with herbal and citrus notes. The palate shows bright, extremely pretty black and red fruits, a bit of cocoa, very mineral, with an almost bitter earthy character adding to the wine's complexity. This is a unique and delicious bottle of Saint-Amour and is highly recommended, especially for lovers of natural wines! David Lillie
The Perraud Morgon "Grand Cras" is an excellent example of the bold quality of fruit and structure that one can expect from 2018 Cru Beaujolais. From 60-year-old vines, the vineyard work is done without pesticides or herbicides. Similarly, fermentation is kicked off by indigenous yeasts and the grapes undergo semi-carbonic maceration. The wine is aged in old oak for 6 months and bottled unfiltered. Very little sulfur is used during the process - the analysis shows 8 mg/l total at bottling. The nose and palate are a team of dark flowers, fresh earth, and wild dark fruits of cherry and blackberry. There are hints of green, savory herbs and dark stone on the palate as well. The structure is solid, with tannic chewiness and a focused, clean peak of acidity. It is a pleasure to drink now, but has a long life ahead. Dave H
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
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!