The Robinhood Chronicles (3):
The Bandit of Bayernshire Robs Beaujolais Blind; Returning with riches fit for a king, at prices even a Friar can afford. By Justin G. Leone
A Few tips for seeking out the best wines, from the best producers:
An ambitious, young, and perfectionist producer, Stefan Aviron paired up with another Burgundian Luminary, Nicolas Potel, to realize his dream of restoring Beaujolais Cru wines to their former glory. Thus, the practices here are completely traditional; Carbonic maceration is rarely, if ever, used, and never for the Cru bottlings, wines are raised in second or third-use Burgundy barrels, and the vines are all considered “Vieilles Vignes,” being at the least, forty years of age, and in some cases (such as his Chénas) are over one hundred years old, having been unaffected by Phylloxera, and thus “original” rootstock. Top examples of Juliénas, Morgon “Côte du Py,” and Moulin-à-Vent are also to be found at this domain.
Martine et Pierre-Marie Chermette
A positively charming man, and the source for top Moulin-à-Vent, from a small vineyard called “Les Trois Roches.” Powerful, masculine, rugged. Built to last, and requires 2-3 years in the bottle to really show its decadent fruit. Also two top Fleurie sites, “Les Garants” and “Poncié.” The former is certainly more a powerful, vin-de-garde character, while the latter displays the much more feminine side of Fleurie; all elegance and refinement. The secret to this domain lies, however, in two other products: A truly fantastic, if not simple, Beaujolais Blanc (Chardonnay) and absolute top Crème de Cassis. Even the basic Beaujolais “Cuvée Traditionelle” Vieilles Vignes is perhaps one of the best values in Burgundy.
Clos de la Roilette
A miniscule domain. One could say, about as small as it gets. Only two wines are made here, however both, as the namesake would suggest, made from the “filet stuck” of Fleury, the “La Roilette” vineyard. The Straight Fleury has power and elegance combined, the absolute picture of top Fleury. There is also a “Vendange Tardives” selection made, where the grapes are harvested two to three weeks later, perhaps longer in a perfect growing season. Armed with considerably more extract, a much deeper purple hue, and just a touch more residual sugar, these wines are intended to test your patience, and cellar management skills, certainly benefitting from 6 years of solitary confinement, and even better, with 10. Thankfully, the basic cuvee gives a fair bit of pleasure after just about 2 years, but shows better after 4 to 5.
A positively congenial man, and surely one of the best table tennis players in France. As masterful as it is, however, even Jean’s touch with a ping-pong paddle pales in comparison to his artful work in the vineyard. Most of his vines lie in Morgon, one of the best-known Crus for producing top notch wines. What’s more, he produces mostly in the “Côte du Py” Lieu-dit, which produces wines of particular edge and poise; quite mineral, not so lush like a Fleury, and always very fine after some years of cellaring. Within this tiny vineyard, within Morgon, Foillard makes a very limited cuvee called “3.14” from only the very best, and oldest, vines. Super concentrated, dense, brutally closed, and mineral, there is absolutely no choice but to wait for this one to come around. 8 years is a safe bet, but in the best vintages, 10-14 is quite better. He also now produces a Fleurie of top quality. A lovely contrast to the more masculine Morgon, possessing all the filigree and allure of this more exotically characterized Cru.
Louis Jadot, Chateau des Jaques
A grand old negociant, so large in fact, that it’s often difficult to say which appellations in Burgundy Jadot doesn’t have interenst in. Jaques Lardier does, however, make some of the finest wine in Burgundy, from a handful of very special vineyards under his control, and the estate in Beaujolais is a prime example. Here, one can taste no less than six different single-vineyard wines from Moulin-à-Vent, three from Morgon, and one Chénas, all of which are absolute top examples in a Burgundian-style. Most of these are made for the cellar, requiring some patience, however repaying the favor ten-fold after 5 years or so. These are often more masculine, powerful styles, some aged in new oak barrels, made and blended specifically for Jadot, selected from three specific forests in France. When young, the oak can be a little too evident on the palate, but then again, these wines are not made for “now.” A horizontal tasting here is not to be missed, as the multitude of nuances and intricacies of Moulin-à-Vent come clearer with each bottle opened.
All this having been said, for those finding themselves still skeptical to the beauty of Beaujolais, I offer you this last allowance. Those seeking personal validation in point-values, grades, and other fabricated forms of wine objectification, shan’t find any in these pages. Jancis Robinson, the much-celebrated English wine writer, perhaps framed the mentality best:
“These are precisely the sort of wines that demonstrate the fatuity of applying numerical scores to something as visceral and subjective as wine appreciation. These are stupendous wines…..To what extent should they be penalized for their lack of suitability for dusty cellars and salerooms?”
To that point, I suggest we leave the “high scoring” to our FC Bayern boys in red, and forget about forcing every wine to take their beatings in a Champion’s League to which they don’t belong. I firmly believe that the path to contentment lies in the appreciation of everything for what it is; from life’s simple pleasures to the utterly extraordinary. Life is complicated enough; and sometimes, it just takes a tall glass of cellar temperature Beaujolais to help one see things a little clearer.
Verwandte Artikel:20.08.2012 | Beaujolais 1: Justin Leone über einen großen, verkannten Wein
29.08.2012 | Beaujolais 2: die Rebsorte und die verschiedenen Crûs