Our comrade in wine, maestro Keith, kindly hosted another BYOB winetasting at his home. This tasting’s theme was Gamay Noir. It was a Sunday night. The tasting started around 8:30pm & the line-up was quite diverse & so interesting.
The first thing I would say tasters soon discovered was that not all Beaujolais are created the same. Seems obvious, right? But, I often hear people note, “yes, I would pair that dish with a Beaujolais“. Tasting this line up, however, clearly showed how a wine produced from the same grape variety can differ, whether from site, soil, vintage growing conditions, harvest times, winemaker’s preference & execution & so many other factors.
Wines tasted–2015 Evening Land Gamay Noir “Seven Springs”; 2017 Dupeuble Beaujolais Rosé; 2017 Nicole Chanrion “”Perle de Gamay”; Jean Foillard Beaujolais Villages; 2016 Robert-Denogent Beaujolais Villages “Cuvée Jules Chauvet”; 2015 Julien Sunier “Wild Soul”; 2015 Anne Sophie Dubois Fleurie “Clepsydre”; 2015 Chignard Juliénas “Beauvernay”; 2016 Mommessin St Amour; 2015 Jean-Paul Brun “Domaine de Terres Dorées” St Amour; Ganevat “Cuvée Madelon Nature”; 2017 Nicole Chanrion Côte de Brouilly “Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes”; 2006 Nicole Chanrion Côte de Brouilly “Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes”; 2014 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly; 2017 Jean-Paul Thévenet Morgon “Vieilles Vignes”; 2015 Jean-Paul Thévenet Morgon “Vieilles Vignes”; 2009 Jean Foillard Morgon “3.14”.
The highlights for me included–
2017 Dupeuble Beaujolais Rosé–a very tasty, mineral laden, vivacious, perky rosé. Boy, has this estate greatly improved their pink wine over the past decade or so! Quite the turnaround. This family run estate has doing their thing for over 500 years. Today, the vines are farmed organically & biodynamically. Really ideal for the fast approaching Summer months. Thank you Ann for sharing. 2017 Nicole Chanrion “”Perle de Gamay”–My first taste of this particular white wine. Produced from .27HA of Gamay Noir (planted in the 1970’s)–fermented in stainless steel & aged for 10 months. Tasters loved its wonderful purity, deliciousness & softness. Its a very pretty, lighter, easy drinking white wine. Thank you Chris for sharing. 2016 Robert-Denogent Beaujolais Villages “Cuvée Jules Chauvet”–Jean-Jacques Robert was the first of his family to create such a fanfare for their wines. His, are many stellar, white wine bottlings from very special & unique, old vine parcels in the Mâconnais. I would say, these old vine white wines are more in quality company with the Côte de Beaune Crus rather than with his neighbors. A few years back, Robert leased a 1.14 hectare parcel (20 & 70 year old vines) from Benedicte Chauvet, niece of iconic, wine game changing Jules Chauvet. This 2016 was delicious, intriguing, vinous, savory & really good. One of the more popular wines of the evening among the tasters. Thank you Ann for sharing. Ganevat Vin de France “Cuvée Madelon Nature”–This was one of the wine highlights of the night. Because of the extreme challenges they have recently been experiencing, Jean-François teamed up his sister Anne to create some very interesting Vin de France designated wines. Cuvée Madelon Nature is 50 to 60% old vine, organically grown Gamay Noir from the Morgon cru & the remainder produced from indigenous vines from Jura. This bottle was very compelling–vinous, savory, full of character with mojo & structure in its core. Quite a group favorite. Thank you Jacob for sharing. Both the 2017 AND the 2006 Nicole Chanrion Côte de Brouilly “Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes” were served. (Unfortunately, the 2006 was off. It would have been nice to taste a set of wines, 11 years apart). Chanrion owns & farms 6.5 hectares of vineyards in the lower part of the Côte de Brouilly. She is a very driven, visionary, totally committed, true vigneron. Her 2017 Côte de Brouilly has a dark, sinister, very savory nature which is nonetheless done with style, refinement & balance. Although the 2006 bottle was corked, I fortunately had a different bottle a couple of weeks or so ago. Tasting that bottle, I was amazed how the gunflinty, savory, musky, dead leaves character moved in the forefront & the fruit smells nearly non-existent. Furthermore, on the palate the 2006 was way more rounded, seamless & harmonious. I wondered, who says Beaujolais doesn’t get better with some age? The 2014 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly comes from vineyards higher in elevation up the Côte. The granite is very black in color & one gets a more dark shade in the wine with spice, gunflint, a real savoriness & therefore a much more masculine wine style in comparison to the Chanrion bottlings. Thank you Brent for sharing. One of the other standout (pair) were the 2017 & 2015 Jean-Paul Thévenet Morgon “Vieilles Vignes”. I thought BOTH wines were REALLY good. Both had a wonderful transparency, a very compelling vinous, earth laden character with superb texture, seamlessness & class. I was really quite surprised because previously I had found this domaine’s wines good, but normally underwhelming in comparison to the other “Gang of Four’s” wines. 2009 Jean Foillard Morgon “3.14”–I was so thankful someone brought this bottling AND one that had some bottle age at that. Jean Foillard, over the years, has produced some of the real standout wines from the Beaujolais appellation. His “3.14” is his crown jewel, produced from his 100 year old vines. The 2009 is what I would refer to as a “suped up” version–a supercharger, complete with mag wheels. It is gorgeous & quite decadent for a Beaujolais with real vinosity, generous amplitude & depth. Thank you Keith for sharing.
As a side note, sadly, the 2015 Jean-Paul Brun “Domaine de Terres Dorées” St Amour for this night’s tasting was oxidized, probably heat stressed. Thankfully a few days later, Matt allowed me to try some of his 2016 Jean-Paul Brun “Domaine de Terres Dorées” Côte de Brouilly. I thought this wine was MUCH better & quite an interesting drink. The wine was actually brought & tasted with a candidate in preparation for an upcoming blind tasting examination he will be doing. Jean-Paul is not typically a proponent of carbonic maceration in his Beaujolais. The taster continued– “this wine had class, vinosity & was really good winemaking“. That’s a really fair assessment. I think that was, after all, the point of the wine.
I would also like to add, that we also tasted on that day a 2017 Chignard Fleurie “Les Moriers”. I thought this wine was wonderful–gorgeous fruit, vinosity, a savory core & absolutely delicious. For me this is a Beaujolais “banker”. Old vines of Fleurie designated vines which actually juts into the Moulin-a-Vent appellation, done carbonic & aged in old oak. Just for fun, we then opened a bottle of the 2011 Chignard Fleurie “Les Moriers” to compare. The obvious fruit had changed with bottle age. The 2011 was now vehemently about savoriness, stones & vinosity. The edges were rounded & the wine was so very harmonious & I thought superb. It was like comparing a caterpillar & a butterfly, the difference was so incredible. Who says Beaujolais doesn’t blossom with age?