Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

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Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:08 am

Dave E's challenge was simple and direct: Can we have a discussion of Beaujolais that does not include the phrase "serious wine" or disparaging remarks about carbonic maceration?"

Well, sure. Maybe.

Most people expect to read about Beaujolais in November, when wine writers in search of a seasonal idea almost invariably pick up on the release of the Nouveau Beaujolais, the French region's new wine of the vintage just past.

We're taking on the subject in August, though, in our online forum's monthly Wine Focus, because the excellent 2009 vintage of the named Beaujolais "Crus" has been released and will be hitting markets around the world soon.

Just about every year, these are the wines that prompt wine commentators to reach for words like, well, "serious," in a thesaurus-impaired effort to find a way to distinguish the upper-tier Beaujolais from the simple, fruity Nouveau.

"Bound and determined," "businesslike," "contemplative," "deliberate," "determined," "earnest," "genuine," "go for broke," "grave," "honest," "intent," "meditative," "no-nonsense," "pensive," "pokerfaced," "reflective," "resolute," "resolved," "sincere," "solemn," "steady," "stern," "thoughtful," "weighty"? Thanks, Thesaurus.com. This isn't as easy as it seems.

As for "carbonic maceration," let's just skip right past wine-making technology today and go straight to the tasting notes. I recently tasted through the 2009s from the ubiquitous Georges DuBoeuf and found them unexpectedly impressive.

While I wait for the 2009s to arrive at my local retailers, though, let's have a look at a couple of very decent 2008s (posted separately): The widely available Beaujolais-Villages from Louis Jadot, and an earthy, artisanal Beaujolais "Terres Dorees" from J.P. Brun. This pairing mirrors a tasting of 2005s that I published in November (of course), 2006, Beaujolais, not Nouveau.
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WTN: Louis Jadot and J.P. Brun 2008 Beaujolais

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:08 pm

Louis Jadot 2008 Beaujolais-Villages ($11.99)

Very dark reddish-purple with a thin garnet rim. On the elegant side for a Beaujolais, red-berry aromas start with strawberry and add hints of plums and blackberries in the background. Good dark fruit and a clean "earthy" backnote akin to black loam. Tart, mouth-watering acidity and a touch of smooth tannins. Very good table wine, with structure and balance to match the top Beaujolais. U.S. Importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (July 29, 2010)

FOOD MATCH: The regional wine for the food-obsessed city of Lyon, Beaujolais has evolved as a versatile table wine well suited to a broad array of main courses from poultry and pork to beef and bold cheese. It made a fine pairing with green peppers stuffed with ground local pastured lamb and bulghur, topped with Gruyère and baked.

VALUE: Excellent at this price, which to my pleased surprise was the same as I paid for the 2005 vintage in 2006. Note, moreover, that Wine-Searcher.com reveals many sources for $10 or less.

WEB LINKS: Louis Jadot's Website is online in English, French, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Click the flag of your choice if the system doesn't recognize your browser's resident language; then click "Wine Notes" on the home page and work your way through the lists and maps for information about the Beaujolais and Jadot's other wines.
http://www.louisjadot.com/

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Louis Jadot Beaujolais is available through scores of vendors on Wine-Searcher.com.
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Jadot ... g_site=WLP


Jean-Paul Brun 2008 "Terres Dorees" Beaujolais "L'Ancien" Vieilles Vignes ($15.99)

Clear garnet, dark at the center, bright closer to the edge. Fresh raspberry-strawberry scent, subtle but appetizing, with a whiff of pleasantly earthy "tree bark." Bright red fruit on the palate, shaped by mouth-watering acidity that lingers into a long, clean finish. If your view of Beaujolais is formed by the big-brand labels, this may recalibrate your impression ... in a good way. U.S. importer: LDM Wines Inc., NYC; Louis/Dressner Selections. (July 23, 2010)

FOOD MATCH: Another versatile food wine. I served it with poulet l'estragon, with a gently poached local free-range hen and a velouté fashioned from its broth and garden tarragon.

VALUE: Back up the truck at the wine shop door.

WEB LINKS: Importer LDM Wines offers an essay about Jean-Paul Brun, including a short but well-tuned rant about past abuse in Beaujolais of 71B, an industrial yeast strain that imparts an artificial banana aroma in some of the region's wines.
http://louisdressner.com/Brun/

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for J.P. Brun Beaujolais on Wine-Searcher.com.
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Brun% ... g_site=WLP

My source, Chambers Street Wines in NYC, has a modest supply of the 2009 Brun Terres Dorees at $15.99. Use this search link to browse its inventory of Brun's wines including this Beaujolais.
http://www.chambersstwines.com/Search.a ... go&kw=brun
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:13 pm

The Louis Jadot 2008 Beaujolais-Villages is a fabulous wine, and I was going to post on it. Drat! But, will find something else.
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:50 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:The Louis Jadot 2008 Beaujolais-Villages is a fabulous wine, and I was going to post on it. Drat! But, will find something else.

Hey, one post doesn't constitute a monopoly! Post back, and we'll compare notes!
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Oliver McCrum » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:55 pm

2008 Morgon, Lapierre

Drunk with delicious chicken breast at Chez Panisse a few weeks ago, and exactly right for the food. I didn't take notes, but the wines had many of the merits of Burgundy (elegance, transparency of flavor, generosity); I remember red fruits, hints of herbs, beautiful balance (the wine was served at cellar temperature, which helped) and just the right fine tannins to stand up to the food. No trace of Brett.
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:08 pm

Well if we're talking about Beaujolais we drank recently, I had a lovely Lapierre MMVII last weekend that was so seductive aromatic and perfect Morgon. Like Oliver, I could say it approached being 'Burgundian' in the sense of being so damned good. But not in the sense of having the structure that Jadot's "Burgundian" line of Beaujolais has.

I don't have a ton of experience with Lapierre's special numbered series but this one didn't seem overdone at all and was just right. It also held its own with some other pretty good wines including a wild Dard and Ribo 2004 Hermitage. More continuity than one might expect. Carbonic-ly speaking and all.
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Chris Newport » Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:19 pm

Had this last week... objectively very, very good but I plan on being a bit cautious, I feel like some of the wines in this vintage may lack beaujolais typicity (if you care about that kind of thing). It will be fun finding out!


2009 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
7/24/2010: This is quite a beaujolais.... unlike any other vintage of CdlR that I have had. A bit subdued on the nose, but wow what fruit on the palate. Just a wave of palate soaking fruit washing through the mouth.. very intense with a long, long finish. Well balanced too, nice acids carrying everything. This is a fantastic wine and I will be buying more for sure... but I'm going to careful with this vintage, this is almost atypical for the appelation. If you care about these things, I would have a hard time placing this blind as beaujolais. I hate using this comparison, but this could almost be mistaken for a Beaune village level burg. It's hard to say anything negative about this wine, but it does stray a bit from what I would consider typical. Cork closure... drink now or cellar for a few years, it should be great either way.
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:06 pm

Chris Newport wrote:2009 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
7/24/2010: This is quite a beaujolais....... drink now or cellar for a few years, it should be great either way.


Thanks for this note. I bought a bottle of this recently and was wondering if it was too early to drink. But it sounds like I have nothing to fear. Except ripeness :wink:
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Chris Newport » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:34 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Chris Newport wrote:2009 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
7/24/2010: This is quite a beaujolais....... drink now or cellar for a few years, it should be great either way.


Thanks for this note. I bought a bottle of this recently and was wondering if it was too early to drink. But it sounds like I have nothing to fear. Except ripeness :wink:


Rahsaan,
It's drinking great now, I would have no hesitation opening one.... but I am sure it will hold and even improve if you want to stash a few away.I'm planning on loading up on this for the next year or two and stashing away a few of the Cuvee Tardives.
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2007 George Descombes Morgon

Postby Marc D » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:04 pm

I tried two of the these recently, the regular bottle and the Vieilles Vignes.

The 2007 Descombes Morgon has an open nose, with red cherry fruit and a good bit of powder and crushed rock minerality.
The wine is very sharply acidic, too tart to enjoy right out of the bottle. With air and food it settles down a bit, and a little bit of Morgon spice shows up.
This really needs a year or so in the cellar, but I believe it will improve.

The 2007 Descombes Morgon VV is quite a bit different. Aromatically it is almost completely closed, even with air and vigorous swilling it wasn't giving up much.
In the mouth this has beautiful structure. The tannins are so regal, and the feel is like silk. I think this will be great when it emerges from the shut down phase, but don't know how long it will take to do so.
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Re: 2007 George Descombes Morgon

Postby Rahsaan » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:14 pm

Marc D wrote:The 2007 Descombes Morgon VV is quite a bit different. Aromatically it is almost completely closed, even with air and vigorous swilling it wasn't giving up much.
In the mouth this has beautiful structure. The tannins are so regal, and the feel is like silk. I think this will be great when it emerges from the shut down phase, but don't know how long it will take to do so.


I had a bottle this winter that was also pretty tough. I didn't know what to make of it, but shut down sounds like a good explanation.
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Re: 2007 George Descombes Morgon

Postby Marc D » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:20 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
I had a bottle this winter that was also pretty tough. I didn't know what to make of it, but shut down sounds like a good explanation.


I wonder if its like some Pinot Noir from Burgundy, closed up in year 3 through 7.
Most Beaujolais has a much more open drinking window, so I really don't know what to expect from this bottle.
I have two more bottles to experiment with the drinking window.
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Don Appleton » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:16 am

One I particularly like is 2007 Pierre Chermette Vissoux Fleurie. I found this to be reasonably complex and delightful with roasted chicken. I have not yet tried the 2008 or 2009.
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:50 am

Opened tonight with a light dinner of insalata caprese, bread and cheeses:

2005 Clos de la Roilette (Alain Coudert) Fleurie
nose: gamay fruit, a hint of smoke, minerals
palate: deep fruit, firm acidity, Burgundian texture

Wow! This bottle was a gift from a French friend, a relative of Coudert. This is easily one of the finest bottles of Gamay that I've ever tasted, deep, fruity, structured, with a very Burgundian heft to it but not at the expense of its joyously fruity Gamay character. Altogether fetching. Although this wine clearly has the ability to withstand another 5-15 years in the bottle, it is so delicious now that I question why one should wait any longer.

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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Rahsaan » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:09 am

Mark Lipton wrote:2005 Clos de la Roilette (Alain Coudert) Fleurie This is easily one of the finest bottles of Gamay that I've ever tasted, deep, fruity, structured, with a very Burgundian heft to it but not at the expense of its joyously fruity Gamay character. Altogether fetching. Although this wine clearly has the ability to withstand another 5-15 years in the bottle, it is so delicious now that I question why one should wait any longer.


'45 Huet and '05 Coudert. You're not doing so bad for yourself with these back vintages!
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:17 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:2005 Clos de la Roilette (Alain Coudert) Fleurie This is easily one of the finest bottles of Gamay that I've ever tasted, deep, fruity, structured, with a very Burgundian heft to it but not at the expense of its joyously fruity Gamay character. Altogether fetching. Although this wine clearly has the ability to withstand another 5-15 years in the bottle, it is so delicious now that I question why one should wait any longer.


'45 Huet and '05 Coudert. You're not doing so bad for yourself with these back vintages!


PKB, young Jedi.

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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby John S » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:21 pm

Just happened to crack this open last night. I have been buying a few beaujolais over the last few years, but haven't drank too many. I must change this! I'm happy to have one more bottle of this Morgon left in the cellar.

  • 2005 Dominique Piron Morgon Côte du Py - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon (8/4/2010)
    Deep brick/purple in colour. Lovely nose of redfruits and black licorice. Medium to full bodied on the smooth, velvety palate, with deep, sappy cherries, blueberries, minerals and tar/smoke. Very slight, ripe tannins on the finish. Mouth staining finish. Excellent, powerful beaujolais that should last a few years easily. Very impressive. (A-)
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Ben Rotter » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:28 am

Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Les Petit Vernay Cuvee Vielles Vignes 2008 (A$40, which is twice the money you'd pay in the USA/UK; but that's Australian imports for you)
I've always liked the fact that Brouilly offers more solid, tannic wines, and this wine is true to that generalisation. It's medium maroon red in colour. The nose has a surprising quantity of humic earth, but also some candied cherry and steely minerality. Not quite what I expected, but nice. Appropriately fresh acidity, with present tannins that seem slightly awkwardly woollen and result in a strange back palate that isn't as well balanced as it could be, but is nevertheless enjoyable. Good but not great Brouilly.
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2009

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:12 am

2009 Lapierre Morgon
Before this I hadn't tasted any 2009 Beaujolais and had only tasted two of the Puzelat 2009 red wines. So I was intrigued. It started off really big, sweet, and primary, and right after opening the bottle I wouldn't have gotten much pleasure. But, luckily I was at home and could let it air, so about 60-90 minutes later when I was ready for dinner it had started to gain definition and depth in flavors. It continued to do that all night (for the next 5-6 hours until I finished it).

By the end of the bottle it was hinting towards Lapierre silk, spice and ponderous depth that can be so fun but was still mostly covered by that big primary fruit and a tight crisp finish. So, it was tasty but I probably wouldn't rush to open another anytime soon and for my palate would prefer to see how it develops with a bit of age. Obviously lots of material here but nothing sloppy and there was a nice firm knit structure on the end which was all promising. Whether or not I buy anymore will depend on all the other competing Beaujolais/wines in general out there!
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2009

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:14 am

2009 Lapierre Morgon
Before this I hadn't tasted any 2009 Beaujolais and had only tasted two of the Puzelat 2009 red wines. So I was intrigued. It started off really big, sweet, and primary, and right after opening the bottle I wouldn't have gotten much pleasure. But, luckily I was at home and could let it air, so about 60-90 minutes later when I was ready for dinner it had started to gain definition and depth in flavors. It continued to do that all night (for the next 5-6 hours until I finished it).

By the end of the bottle it was hinting towards Lapierre silk, spice and ponderous depth that can be so fun but was still mostly covered by that big primary fruit and a tight crisp finish. So, it was tasty but I probably wouldn't rush to open another anytime soon and for my palate would prefer to see how it develops with a bit of age. Obviously lots of material here but nothing sloppy and there was a nice firm knit structure on the end which was all promising.

Whether or not I buy any more will depend on all the other competing Beaujolais/wines in general out there!
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Tim York » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:25 pm

Morgon 2009 – Marcel Lapierre – Alc. 13% - “without addition of sulphites and without filtering, this wine must be cellared at temperatures of no more than 14°C”.

Here is a second opinion. As you can see, I found it more ready for my palate than Rahsaan did for his, with less concerns about a tight finish and need for breathing. I would love to know how it would age but I wouldn't dare to try it in my cellar; what a pity because I have greatly enjoyed a 20 year old Morgon which had more conventionally made.

I have been often disappointed by Lapierre’s Morgon; the best bottles have been delicious but bottles with different sorts of off flavours have been more numerous in spite of my having only kept them through one winter season when my passive cellar is reliably below 14°C.

Well, this bottle was up with the best. Aromas were of caressing red fruit with dabs of flinty minerals and wet leather. The palate was medium bodied with a lovely velvety mouth-feel and a generous mouth-fill with nice depth and flesh and delicately aromatic fruit dangerously close to boiled sweet but thankfully not there. It was elegant and supremely moreish and I felt that I could have drunk several bottles; 16.5/20.

I would love to buy more bottles but they would go off at my cellar’s summer temperatures and there is precious little room in the fridge. I have heard that Lapierre also produces a sulphured cuvée which is more robust; does anyone know how this one performs?
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:38 pm

Tim York wrote:I have heard that Lapierre also produces a sulphured cuvée which is more robust; does anyone know how this one performs?


See my note above. I guess I should have mentioned that. Here in the US we supposedly get two cuvees, one marked 'S' on the back label for sulfured and the other marked 'N' for natural (i.e. not sulfured, i.e. your wine). But I don't think I've ever come across the non-sulfured version, or at least I didn't notice. So that may account for the fact that yours was showing fresher and easier to drink.

In addition, our bottles arrived in the US in the past few weeks so who knows how that affects the wine in comparison to your less-travelled bottles. And of course there are also palate differences. On another board there are US folks who find their Lapierre very easy to drink now.

Regardless, one descriptor I can definitely agree with is the following:
delicately aromatic fruit dangerously close to boiled sweet but thankfully not there.


Nice!
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2009

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:58 pm

2009 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie

This is good stuff. I hear a lot of folks going crazy about the 09 Tardive, but this is so good I can only imagine what the Tardive is like. (And will see how long it takes before my will breaks down and I open a bottle).

This starts off a bit grapey and primary (just like the Lapierre) but it finds its focus much sooner. Over the course of 3-4 hours as it warms and airs it shows a lot of different faces and all of them are delicious. That's a lot of wine for $20! When cooler, it has rippling focused black mineral fruit with intense stoney smells and flavors. As it warms and airs, it shows finer with more bright red tart flavors and smells, but always ripe always poised always delicious. Drink me!
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Re: Wine Focus for August: Beaujolais

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:47 pm

All this brohaha about the Roilette reminds me that the `08 vintage is downtown for $25 so will pick one up shortly. I have rather neglected Beaujolly of late!
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