(2019) From an estate owned by Louis Jadot, but run quite autonomously by Guillaume de Castelnau, this is serious Cru Beaujolais, aged in barrel. A little initial funkiness blows off quickly to reveal a charming nose, decidely Gamay with its floral and watercolour paint lift, but with a deeper fruitiness and touch of game adding complexity. In the mouth the sweet fruit impresses in its purity, ripe and tart cherry and black berries, and there is grip here, a firm spicy tannin and very good acidity. This improved with air and might well benefit from ageing a little, or decanting an hour before serving.
(2018) Like the superb Morgon from this Domaine, this Côte de Brouilly is no shrinking violet with 14.3% alcohol from the super and hot 2015 vintage. It has similar density and power, but wrapped in a slightly firmer cloak of tannins and acidity, more savoury, dark and spicy in character, the more opulent Morgon having a little more come-hither charm. But the meaty concentration here is admirable, some brighter red fruit acidity honing the edges, in a Beaujolais that would sit very happily with a steak.
(2017) This Fleurie is made in the Château's cellars, which belong to one of the Loron family. The Gamay is grown on pink granite soils and the wine vinified in old oak vats. It has a youthful crimson colour and pleasing, quite svelte nose of crushed black berries, cherries and a little graphite edge. In the mouth it is firm and racy, a fine core of acidity and taut tannin draped with quite concentrated black fruit. Elegant, fairly lean in style, and long.
(2017) From granite soils rich in large crystals, vines are 50 years old on average, and this was vinified traditionally (not using carbonic maceration). Beautiful ripeness is evident, and a liquorice intensity, though it begins to reveal a tiny floral lift on the nose. Weight and delicious persistence on the palate, with a sweet black cherry fruit and tartness of cherry skins, and that firm youthful finish. Price and stockist at time of review are for the 2014 vintage.
(2017) From vineyards on sedimentary soils with old alluvial deposits, again vinified traditionally and coming from 50-year-old vines. A smooth and intense character immediately, with greater intensity and meatiness compared to the Fleurie, but a soft and ripe red fruit character comes through too. Savoury, taught on the palate it is really quite grippy, its tannin structure and acidity adding to that sense of concentration and fullness. This might age rather nicely for several years. The most recent vintage I can find for retail sale in the UK is the 2010.
(2017) From 50-year-old vines, this has a deep and vibrant crimson colour. I like the slightly herbal, sappy note of the nose that to me says 'Gamay' rather more than the Saint-Amour for example, earth, a touch of iron, and small, dry red berries beneath. Again charming, light, and full of that redcurrant and cherry fruit, a modest finish of spice, fruit and gentle tannins and acids. I prefer the style of this to the Saint-Amour, but I guess it perhaps lacks a tiny bit of substance, so I'll score it the same. Note:price and stockist quoted is for the 2014 vintage at time of review.
(2016) From one of the top Beaujolais Crus, this is an attractively spicy and black-fruited interpretation of Gamay, very focused, tight and mineral-flecked aromas that are firm. On the palate that's the story too, a chewy and firm core of tannins and acidity, underpinning savoury but extremely juicy black berry fruit, precise and shot through with energy. A lovely wine.
(2016) The soils of the single vineyard which grew the grapes for this organic wine are slate, with a high proportion of iron and manganese, which explain it's particularly mineral, dry, earthy and powerful appeal, so different to the general image of the Gamay grape and the fruitier wines of Beaujolais. Though there is cherry and plum, there's also a bloody, oxide note, dry earthy extraction and concentration, and a definite impression that this is one Beaujolais Cru that will cellar well and improve over 10 years or more. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2016) Described by Lautent as a difficult vintage with frost, hail and a very small crop. Pleasing delicate briar and meaty nuances to the quite solid black and red fruit. Fine sweetness and elegance of the fruit, quite charming with a touch of sappiness and an edge of endive bittersweetness and espresso, making it quite Pinot-like. Not so Beaujolais, but it is lovely.
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