Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby ChaimShraga » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:21 pm

Marcel Lapierre, Morgon, 2009

I had a good run with my bottles of this wine, and it's hard to let go. This is still a fresh, fruity wine with silky tannins, a salty/earthy finish and lovely acidity, while the nose is typically pungent with a dusty, earthy appeal. I wish I could talk about this wine in fairly conventional tasting-notes qualifications of complexity and finesse and balance, but its charms are off on another plane, in the way it it riffs off a few simple themes (think of Neil Young as a reference point) that bring it close to to Nuits or Gevrey stylistically, without surrendering its grasp on its Gamay-ness. Very tasty, too.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Tim York » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:50 am

While waiting for a moment of lack of vigilance on the in-house PO’s part so that I can get to Brussels to buy an interesting Beaujolais selection, here is a re-run of some recent Beaujolais and Gamay TNs. I kept the promise to myself to buy more of the Touraine Gamay and slurp it regularly.

Touraine Gamay 2010 – Domaine de la Charmoise, Henry Marionnet – Alc.12% - (<€6) was fruity and delicious with medium body, lively tangy acidity, hints of spice and good grip; 15.5/20+++ QPR!!! I will be buying more. (Nov 2011)

Morgon 2011 – M.Lapierre – Alc.12.5% - (c.€16), “without added sulphur or filtration, this wine must be kept at a temperature not exceeding 14°C” (my loose translation from back label).

The nose was exhilarating with fresh red fruit with a lot of sharp strawberry notes and very mineral with striking match hints, which I would attribute to added sulphur without that back label note (some 18 hours after opening the heeltaps’ aromas have become darker and more complex with no hint of oxidation and matches no longer perceptible).

The palate was medium/light, linear in shape and quite long, the texture was that of slightly matt silk, the red fruit was lively and again there were attractively burgeoning minerals with an element flint veering to striking match, lively/crisp non-astringent acidity and gentle grip on the finish. The overall effect was surprisingly elegant for Beaujolais.

My guess while drinking was that there was not a lot of ageing potential but the way that the bouquet has behaved in the nearly empty bottle suggests that may be wrong, provided that one has a cellar which guarantees less than 14°C (57°F), which mine does not. Delicious; 16/20+. (March 2012)

Beaujolais Terres Dorées Chardonnay Classic 2010 – Jean-Paul Brun – Alc.12% - (c.€10) showed attractive aromas of subdued minerals and white fruit with peach touches and a medium bodied palate with similarly attractive and lively fruit, gentle minerals, lively acidity and some welcome backbone on the finish; 15.5/20++ (March 2012)
. Subsequent bottles in a party situation seemed even more lively and charming QPR.
Last edited by Tim York on Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Brian K Miller » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:23 pm

Tim...the descriptor "texture like matt silk" is spot on for many Beaujolais. I am going to remember that one! :mrgreen:
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Ben Rotter » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:41 am

At the risk of shifting (a sub-thread of) the April wine focus away from tasting notes toward some actual discussion about Beaujolais, I was most interested to read the Questions for Beaujolais fans thread (which spurred this month's focus topic) because I had recently been reflecting on the Cru Beaujolais producers that tended to be imported to certain countries.

The range of producers imported into Australia seems to significantly reflect (a portion of) the producers who are imported into the USA (with growing numbers of those producers mentioned in the Questions for Beaujolais fans thread gradually being imported, and a more recent focus on reputed "natural" winemakers), though the range of producers available is far more limited compared to the US (which is typical generally), and there is much more focus on the "bigger" Cru (e.g, there's far more Brouilly and Morgon available than there is Fleurie or Saint Amour) which perhaps reflects the Aussie palate (or the Aussie importer palate).

I found it interesting to see the producers listed in the Questions for Beaujolais fans thread, because presumably they represent those producers most valued amongst available imports in the US. More interestingly, while there's reasonable overlap in that list with the producers widely appreciated in France, there are many producers who appear to have quite a reputation in France but are only occassionally seen in the UK, seemingly under the radar in the US, and practically unheard of in Australia (for example, producers such as Gérard Brisson, Ch. de Pizay, Dom. des Rosiers, Agnès et Franck Tavian, Jean Baronnat, Dom. des Vignes du Paradis, Michel Désormière, Jean Baronnat, Dom. des Marrans, Dom. Pardon).

One might think this is no surprise, since Beaujolais wines are French and perhaps there's only so much demand for Cru Beaujolais, but I wonder how much of this is due to issues of availability (of imports) and how much is due to the differences in appreciation between various countries or importers (not ignoring the potential stylistic preferences of importers/drinkers, such as the "bigger Cru" point mentioned above for Australia)....

It's hypothetical, of course, but if wines from ALL the Cru Beaujolais producers of reputation in France were imported into the US, how different might the list in the Questions for Beaujolais fans thread be? I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Tim York » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:47 am

Ben, I don't think that a list of leading producers from most French sources would be very different. Taking RVF's Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France 2012, I note the following hierarchy of producers with their main centre of activity -

**
Dom. Daniel Bouland - Morgon
Dom. Louis Claude Desvignes - Morgon
Château des Jacques (=Jadot) - Moulin-à-Vent
Dom. du Vissoux (=Chermette) - Beuajolais

*
Dom. Jean-Marc Burgaud - Morgon
Dom. Chignard - Fleurie
Dom. Paul & Eric Janin - Moulin-à-Vent
Dom. Laurent Martray - Brouilly
Mommessin - Beaujolais Villages
Dom. Dominique Piron - Morgon
Dom. des Terres Dorées (=Brun) - Beaujolais
Château Thivin - Côte de Brouilly
Dom. Jean Foillard - Morgon
Dom. Hubert Lapierre - Chénas
Marcel Lapierre - Morgon

Most of the above are available here in Belgium but it means a bit of driving to get them all.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:08 am

That is interesting. Tim's list mostly covers producers available in the US, although the Australian list is almost completely not available in the US (at least to my knowledge or in the stores I frequent). I've had similar experiences looking at the Beaujolais names discussed on the UK wine board. However, one also should note that those names popular in the US/UK/Australia etc are often not necessarily popular in France. Texier and Marc Ollivier are the two big examples of producers with followings bigger in the US than in France (although outside of Beaujolais).

Tim's list is mostly available in the US although to me it is somewhat arbitrary to divide those producers into two different categories and I might add in several more that are on the same level (or higher). One can make distinctions based on idiosyncratic taste preferences, but 'star' levels of quality doesn't seem to apply here (at least among the top 15-25 Beaujolais producers).
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Ben Rotter » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:36 am

Rahsaan and Tim, thanks for the input.

Rahsaan wrote:That is interesting. Tim's list mostly covers producers available in the US, although the Australian list is almost completely not available in the US (at least to my knowledge or in the stores I frequent). I've had similar experiences looking at the Beaujolais names discussed on the UK wine board. However, one also should note that those names popular in the US/UK/Australia etc are often not necessarily popular in France.


Apologies if my post wasn't clear: the producers I listed are those that I see as being some examples of those that are valued within France but that are not (to my knowledge) well known in the USA (and they are only somewhat represented in UK, and are unheard of in Australia). I am saying that the Questions for Beaujolais fans thread lists wines valued in the US market, and I wonder whether that list would be significantly different if the US had access to all the Beaujolais that the French have. Tim suggests that is not the case:

Tim York wrote:I don't think that a list of leading producers from most French sources would be very different. Taking RVF's Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France 2012


Interesting. I suppose it depends on the source. Hachette, for example, paints a somewhat different picture.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:06 am

Ben Rotter wrote:Apologies if my post wasn't clear: the producers I listed are those that I see as being some examples of those that are valued within France but that are not (to my knowledge) well known in the USA (and they are only somewhat represented in UK, and are unheard of in Australia)..


Your post was clear. I read too quickly!
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:29 am

One thing you can count on is that some enterprising distributor (or retailer) will eventually trot out one of those producers well known in France but less so elsewhere as the next "insider's Beaujolais - better than any of the producers regularly available in the USA." Watch for it.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:35 am

I can only relate to the store downtown where I help out from time to time but the only two/three names I really notice on the shelf (apart from usual suspects) are Jadot, Brun, Clos de Roilette and Domaine les Cotes de la Roche. And in most cases here maybe only 1/2 crus.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby ChaimShraga » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:43 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:I can only relate to the store downtown where I help out from time to time but the only two/three names I really notice on the shelf (apart from usual suspects) are Jadot, Brun, Clos de Roilette and Domaine les Cotes de la Roche. And in most cases here maybe only 1/2 crus.


I thought these were the usual suspects. Or at least some of them.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Tim York » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:44 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:One thing you can count on is that some enterprising distributor (or retailer) will eventually trot out one of those producers well known in France but less so elsewhere as the next "insider's Beaujolais - better than any of the producers regularly available in the USA." Watch for it.


Not so long ago during the early 60s, when I was doing a three year stint in Paris, most of the best Beaujolais was procured by insider knowledge. I recall some delicious cuvées in Paris bistrots and brasseries which were often unlabelled; the patron would be in the habit of paying an annual visit to the Beaujolais region to pick wines to please his regular customers. I guess that some niche cavistes did the same but I can't vouch for it because I didn't buy much wine for home consumption those days.

Beefy Georges started changing that in the 70s and reliable Beaujolais became much more widely available. More recently some quite exciting producers, some of whom we know well, have come to the fore leaving Georges in the shade though I doubt if the quality of his wine has changed in an absolute sense.

I am sure that there are quite a few producers of quality Bojo with personality waiting wider discovery. Many of the names that Ben mentions are not on my radar screen and recently one of the best wine pickers in Belgium was urging me to try two new discoveries of his, the Chénas from Paul-Henri Thiardon and the Saint-Amour of Dom.Barbelet, hitherto names unknown to me; I need to find another excuse for a trip to Liège in order to do so :) .
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:05 pm

ChaimShraga wrote:
Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:I can only relate to the store downtown where I help out from time to time but the only two/three names I really notice on the shelf (apart from usual suspects) are Jadot, Brun, Clos de Roilette and Domaine les Cotes de la Roche. And in most cases here maybe only 1/2 crus.


I thought these were the usual suspects. Or at least some of them.


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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:40 pm

So what are your usual suspects?
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2010

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:06 pm

The two 2010 Beaujolais that I've been drinking recently are the Foillard CdP and the Lapierre. As usual (for my tastes), the Lapierre has been fresh, fleshy, flashy and juicy. Not a bad drink but without the elegance of the Foillard. The Foillard was especially fun to return to after the 2009, because it is more classically structured, silky, and downright ethereal on the palate, which is what made me first fall in love with Foillard. Don't get me wrong, I like the 2009, but I'm happy to drink the 2010 as well.
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2009

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:10 pm

Two 2009 Beaujolais that I've been drinking recently are the Chamonard Morgon Clos de Lys and the Descombes Morgon. The Chamonard is supposed to be shut down and clearly isn't showing its best. It has all sorts of lovely soft floral detail but the structure is a bit twisted right now. That said, I've still been opening bottles because the soft floral detail is so lovely, especially if you drink the bottle quickly!

The Descombes is juicier than the Chamonard but not quite all the way towards the round gamay pop of Lapierre and Morgon. It's a great compromise wine but it's not at all a compromise to drink. It's lively, mineral, with deep saturated flavors. Not as profound as the VV, but it's not supposed to be. There is a place for this wine in my mouth.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:17 pm

Rahsaan wrote:So what are your usual suspects?


Drouhin, Duboeuf for starters!
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Re: Wine Focus for April...2009 Chateau des Jacques M-a-V

Postby JC (NC) » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:52 am

Chateau des Jacques Clos des Rochegres Moulin-a-Vent, Beaujolais Cru. Property acquired by Louis Jadot. Vineyards extend over parts of Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon. 14% alcohol by volume. Deep purple-red. Nearly opaque. Raspberry fruit; juicy. A bit of grip on the finish. Primary fruit at present. With age it might reveal cocoa or mocha and florals., Attractive enough that I have the impulse to keep filling my glass. Best on the first evening opened. IMO this is the best Beaujolais Cru I've had in several years. Already very approachable. I have one more bottle that I may open at Thanksgiving. I should order more if still available. I will open a Cote de Brouilly soon,
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Tim York » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:37 pm

I have just done a nice little Bojo shopping and am panting for a fix, but it won't be this evening because fish and Huet's Le Haut Lieu sec 2010 are on the menu and for tomorrow lamb and probably Bandol.

I am afraid they are mostly from a "usual suspect", Pierre-Marie Chermette, but I can be very sure that I will like them. Interestingly the wine merchant said that he could not distinguish between the Brouilly and the Fleurie and was awaiting with interest any observations of mine to the contrary. I also bought a Morgon from Michel Guignier, an organic and "natural" producer, who is nearly unknown outside Rob's customers in Brussels.

Stay tuned.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:49 pm

We have the `05 here in town JC, is there any hope for it!!!

Tim, in -house PO Ok with this shopping trip?
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Tim York » Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:37 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:We have the `05 here in town JC, is there any hope for it!!!

Tim, in -house PO Ok with this shopping trip?


Bob, the 2005 Moulin-à-Vent should be good; indeed it may well still seem quite young from a vintage like that. Go for it. This cru has a reputation of being the most age worthy in Beaujolais. I had a 1995 when 10+ years old; it was from Beefy Georges but very good, I remember. Jacques is supposed to be much better.

In-house PO was with me on my shopping trip and said not a word :D
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby JC (NC) » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:41 pm

Bob, what Tim said. I located some 2008 Moulin a Vent from a different producer and may open one of them to compare to the Chateau des Jacques before I open another 2009 vintage (the Cote de Brouilly.)
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Joe Moryl » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:38 am

Raisins Gaulois XI, Vin de France, M. Lapierre:
I suppose this counts as Beaujolais? After looking at the Kermit Lynch website, I'm not sure why this is Vin de France rather than Beaujolais, since they claim the grapes come from Morgon and a non-cru Beaujolais. But whatever; versions IX and X seemed quite popular with some here, so I saw the 2011 version and thought it worth a try. Mixed feelings. Nice magenta tint, mid-light saturation. Nose I associate with carbonic maceration Gamay. Initially, the wine was shockingly harsh and sharp, but I eventually came to grips with it and there is some nice cherry/cranberry fruit with a touch of underlying earthiness. Still, a bit thin and aggressive to be the pleasant sipper I was expecting. $12, screwcap closure, 12% abv.
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Re: Wine Focus for April: Beaujolais!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:59 am

Suggestion elsewhere that it is in the style of a Nouveau? "If I labelled it that, no-one would buy it" quote.
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