(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.
(2018) The 2015 vintage is being hailed as one of the best ever in the resurgent Beaujolais region, where recognition for the quality of wines from the 'Crus' of Beaujolais has soared. This comes from one of the very best, most Burgundian Crus, Morgon, where ninth generation winemaker Gérard Lagneau works with 60-year-old vines. Deep-coloured but bright, the nose has lovely crushed violets and summer berry fruits, a little stripe of game and meatiness adding interest. In the mouth this is truly gorgeous: there's a precise minerality to this that belies its 14% alcohol, the flood of sweet, so obviously ripe and plump, cherry and red berry fruit etched by fine acidity and smooth, fine-grained tannins. An exquisite Morgon really, well-priced at £14.50, but reduced to £13.00 at time of review. A fabulous bellwether for the 2015 vintage. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(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 50-year-old vines grown on granite soils in Saint-Amour, this is dark, slightly duller in colour than the Fleurie. Vinous, with black cherry and a sense of richness, it seems more powerful but a touch less aromatic and refined. On the palate it is solidly fruity and relatively well-balanced, perhaps a touch chewy in the finish for Beaujolais, but concentration is obvious.
(2017) Morgon, a village where all of the appellation's vines are situated, has slate soils that are rich in maganese. Once again the vines are quoted as being 50 years old, and the wine is vinified traditionally. Delicious aromas, lots going on and with an intense slick blackness and in the mouth, firm at the core, with plum and cherry skins. Taut stuff, glossy and ripe with such glossy character to the finish and again feeling as if it will age. Price and stockist quoted 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.
(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.
(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.