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A trio of 2017 Julien Sunier Beaujolais

January 16, 2019 1 comment

Back in October I expressed my excitement over the 2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie.  It was not until this snowy weekend that I tasted it in context with two other of Julien Sunier’s wines.  In short, I am even more excited and convinced that you must try this wine.  The balance is fantastic, yielding a crisp wine of unique floral, orange citrus flavors.  There was bad hail damage in Fleurie and Morgon during the summer of 2017 which shows up in the bottle.  The 2017 Julien Sunier, Fleurie is still mineral and tannic but lighter in body with subtle fruit.  The 2017 Julien Sunier, Morgon is fresh but missing the usual depth and verve.  They are good wines all around with Sunier’s hand evident but the Regnie clearly stands out.  Grab a few bottles from Phil at MacArthur Beverages.

2017 Julien Sunier, Fleurie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines planted in the 1960s.  It was fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeast then aged for 9 months in used Burgundy barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%. Bright red flavors greet but the wine is actually quite mineral.  It is lighter in body with watering acidity.  There are both ripe tannin texture and ripe baking spices in the finish.  This is a light to medium bodied wine with ripeness that is definitely subtle compared to the overall dry finish.  Could use a bit of time. *** 2020-2026.

2017 Julien Sunier, Morgon – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines planted in the 1960s.  It was fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeast then aged for 9 months in used Burgundy barrels.   Alcohol 13%.  A grapey, purple cranberry color.  Scented ripe and bright, red berries on the nose.  In the mouth, fresh and cool red flavors immediately mix with fine to medium textured tannins.  There is watering acidity throughout with a lightly inky finish.  This has the most fruit of the three.  *** Now – 2023.

2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete vats then aged 9 months in neutral French barrels. Alcohol 13.5 %.    Medium fruit weight exists with crisp acidity and floral orange citrus fruit.  Lovely from the first pour.  With air, the fruit rounds out bringing on more florals, violets, and incense through the long, complex finish.  Minimal structure.  Cracking acidity.  **** Now – 2026.

Five Bottles of Beaujolais: Chignard, Dutraive, and Pignard

It was Lou who first mentioned the wines of Jean-Louis Dutraive.  As soon as the bottles arrived in DC we planned to taste them along with a few other bottles. The 2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Le Pied de la Rue, Fleurie is excellent.  A unique nose followed by electric flavors of delicate fruit and minerals.  It is unique in my limited experience with Beaujolais.  Sadly, two bottles of 2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Carolon, Fleurie proved to be yeasty, undrinkable messes.  So avoid the Carolon but do buy Le Pied de la Rue.  There is a bit of a delicacy which makes me think it is best drunk within a few years.

The 2014 Roland Pignard, Cuvee Tradition, Morgon is my second favorite wine of our evening.  It is a balanced, elegant wine of beauty.  It even takes on a vintage perfume note that makes it stand apart.  The 2014 Roland Pignard, Regnie is bright and a touch herbaceous, evocative of a cooler site.  It is solid but I prefer a bit more fruit material in my wine.  We finished with a bottle of 2013 Domaine Chignard, Julienas Beauvernay that had been opened three days prior.  It still tasted of firm, dense black fruit with some wood.  I imagine this wine will easily reach ten years of age at which point it might open up.

In the end, our five bottles spanned a range of qualities but I am happy.  I now know to look out for more wines from Dutraive and Pignard.

2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Le Pied de la Rue, Fleurie – $40
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 40-70 year old vines, fermented in concrete then aged seven months in neutral oak barrels. Alcohol 12.5%. Aromatic. Bright acidity, almost electric, with fine grained yet ripe structure on the gums supports mineral flavors that are almost blue and black in fruit. Beautiful, delicate fruit flavors from pure berries. With air the beauty remains but the berry notes take on density. The finish is lifted with just a touch of yeast followed by a long aftertaste. **** Now – 2021.

2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Carolon, Fleurie – $35
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 12.5%. A cloudy, pale cranberry color. At first ,spritz on the tongue with articulate flavors of berries and some roundness in the mouth. But within two hours an undrinkable yeasty, mess. A second bottle was clear in the glass but soon tasted of popcorn and Pilsner. Not Rated.

2014 Roland Pignard, Cuvee Tradition, Morgon
Imported by Fruit of the Vine. This wine is 100% Gamay that was aged in oak for one year. Alcohol 12.5%. Deeper fruit and olive aromas. In the mouth is a good balance between the fruit, structure, and acidity such that is comes across as an elegant, well-balanced wine. There is a beauty that I prefer over the Regnie. With air, vintage perfume develops on the nose. In the mouth it becomes chiseled with grapey flavor and some ripeness in the finish. ***(*) Now – 2024.

2014 Roland Pignard, Regnie
Imported by Fruit of the Vine. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines.  Alcohol 12%. The brighter red fruit aromas are more herbaceous and a touch dusty. In the mouth this is a bright wine, almost tart, with juicy acidity and fine pithe tannins in the finish. It tastes of cooler site. Attractive in a way but should be drunk soon. *** Now.

2013 Domaine Chignard, Julienas Beauvernay – $18
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines which was fermented in stainless steel then raised for 13 months in old oak foudres.  Alcohol 12.5%. Firm in the mouth with focused black fruit and touch of juicy acidity. It comes across as a young wine, still structured, and does not offer up much until three days after opening. There is some dense, ripe fruit in there, and a firm wood note. I do not see it improving in flavor but imagine it will live a long time. **(*) 2021 – 2029.

The must-try 2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie

October 15, 2018 Leave a comment

You must try the 2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie.  It is a lovely blend of exotic florals, black fruit with minerals, and ethereal ripeness, all of which is capable of additional development over the next several years.  If you try a bottle today you can observe it unfold over several hours.  Pick it up at MacArthur Beverages.

 

2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete vats then aged for 9 months in French barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  This wine slowly opens up, requiring a few hours of air to reveal itself.  There is fresh acidity with modest fruit, modest acidity, and a graphite middle.  With air the very focused flavors of exotic florals and perfume take on a cool density with crisp acidity.  Watering flavors of cranberry and black fruit remain focused but an oily and ethereal ripeness develop.  It wraps up black-fruited and mineral.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

A pair of 2017 Beaujolais

September 11, 2018 Leave a comment

I grabbed a pair of 2017 Beaujolais off the shelves at MacArthur Beverages this past weekend.  These two wines are more in line with the 2016 vintage than the 2015 but even then, are ultimately more grapey and brighter in flavor.  In this light, the 2017 Kermit Lynch (Domaine Dupeuble), Beaujolais will offer plenty of flavor to be drunk over the next year or two.  Hail hit Beaujolais for another year in a row during the 2017 vintage.  The 2017 Marcel Lapierre, Beaujolais contains no fruit from the Côte du Puy which I cannot help but believe shaped this wine.  The 2016 vintage was crisp and energetic from the start, making a good drink upon release.  This 2017 vintage is firm, with good material, leaving the impression that it will drink better next year.  I will try it again this winter.

2017 Kermit Lynch (Domaine Dupeuble), Beaujolais – $14
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 13.5%.  Good floral and firm, grapey fruit.  There is some texture, crisp and watering acidity, with some baking spice flavor in the end.  Grapey, young, not too deep, but with a good amount of flavor. **(*) Now – 2019.

2017 Marcel Lapierre, Beaujolais – $30
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 13.5%.  Tart red fruit defines itself as cranberry and raspberry with supportive acidity and some firmness with fine structure.  It should develop over the rather short-term.  This is a fruity wine to start, pure in flavor, becoming more firm and dry with air.  It tastes like Beaujolais and not the Rhone.  It becomes almost grapey with powdery flavor.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

A mixture of wines young and old

I met up with Lou and another friend for a casual after-work tasting of wines.  We started with a pair of bottles from the Finger Lakes of New York.  I have now enjoyed the 2016 Red Tail Ridge Winery, Sparkling Riesling Petillant Naturel, Finger Lakes on three different occasions.  This bottle was particularly frothy with a core of fruit and vein of bubbles that make it delicious to drink right now.  Also made from Riesling, but smelling like there is Sauvignon Blanc as well, is the 2016 Heart & Hands, Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes.  It is a solid wine of tart citrus and chalk flavor.

The pair of 2014 White Burgundy yielded a generous, rapidly maturing 2014 Gautier Thevenet, Domaine Emilian Gillet, Quintaine, Vire-Clesse.  Of good value I would say.  In comparison, the 2014 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet is less fruity and the better wine.  With a core of lemon and ripe apple, there is an acidic spine, all of which lasts with good length.

Made from the youngest vines, 2017 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Griottes, Beaujolais is a well-made, enjoyable, grapey wine.  It is pure, fresh, and acted as our gateway to a trio of mystery wines.

I admit to being confused.  I had settled in on the wines being from the 1960s and 1970s, with origins in Italy or California, and at least one Cabernet Sauvignon.  Mystery #1 – 1974 Croce di Fralupaia, Chianti was younger than I thought but not worth drinking.  Mystery #2 – 1991 Tenuta Caparzo, Brunello di Montalcino was also younger than I thought but sound, which gives you an ideal of its maturity curve.  With air it took on body and flavor to become rather enjoyable.  The final bottle is the modest Mystery #3 – 1984 Steltzner Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.

2016 Red Tail Ridge Winery, Sparkling Riesling Petillant Naturel, Finger Lakes
Alcohol 13%.  Very frothy at first but the body soon develops.  There is a focused fruit core with the fine bubble vein.  With air and warmth the Riesling origins come out.  Easy to drink.  *** Now – 2020.

2016 Heart & Hands, Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes
Alcohol 11.5%.  A very light straw color.  A good nose, aromatic with both grassy and petrol aromas.  A soft frame exists for the whole fruit Riesling flavor.  There is some chalk and a slightly, tart citrus flavor in the end.  The acidity is balanced by the sugar such that it does not come across as lively.  Some engaging grip develops.  ** Now.

2014 Gautier Thevenet, Domaine Emilian Gillet, Quintaine, Vire-Clesse
Imported by Simon N Cellars. Alcohol 14%.  A very light yellow.  A rounded edge with with ripe lemon flavors, stones in the middle, and some fat in the finish.  It is easy to drink and will mature rapidly.  **(*) Now – 2020.

2014 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet
Alcohol 13%.  A very light green yellow color.  There is a focused fruit impression at first but this wine is not all about the fruit.  It is dense and focused with a good, acidic spine.  There are hints of yeast and wood.  With air the flavors settle on lemon with a ripe, apple core.  Good length.  *** Now – 2023.

2017 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Griottes, Beaujolais
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. Alcohol 12.5%.  A purple, red cranberry color.  Grapey and bright on the nose.  The flavors are evocative of young, grape juicy being light, very pure, and fresh.  Tart berries and grip are closed by a round, verve finish.  ** Now.

Mystery #1 – 1974 Croce di Fralupaia, Chianti
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  Past prime on the nose with a banana aroma.  In the mouth it is falling apart with some leather, animale, and a hint of freshness.  There is a touch of fat-edged flavor and body but it soon turns acidic with green apple flavors.  Past prime.  Not Rated.

Mystery #2 – 1991 Tenuta Caparzo, Brunello di Montalcino
Imported by Palace Brands. Alcohol 13%. A garnet, brick color.  It tasted quite mature at first with bottle aged flavors, citric acidity, and citric pithe on the gums.  But magically, with air, it develops both body and flavor.  It even takes on a luxurious, marshmallow mouth feel.  *** Now.

Mystery #3 – 1984 Steltzner Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Earthy fruit with red cranberry flavors, a grippy nature, and clearly the most acidic of all the wines tasted.  Vibrant but a bit thin in flavor with a slight green edge.  ** Now.

A pair from Brouilly

My daughter’s Monday evening soccer practice is conveniently located near Weygandt Wines.  It is here that I picked up the bright and pure 2016 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Pierreux, Brouilly.  It acts as a good foil for the 2016 Daniel Bouland, Cuvee Melanie, Cotes de Brouilly.  While the Bouland has a bit more heft it also offers more complexity in an understated way.

2016 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Pierreux, Brouilly – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay from 30 year old vinces on granitic scree.  Alcohol 13%.  There are tangy berries followed by an interesting cranberry and raspberry middle.  This wine is about pure fruit flavors.  It also has a bright tilt.  *** Now – 2020.

2016 Daniel Bouland, Cuvee Melanie, Cotes de Brouilly – $26
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 70 year old vines on volcanic blue schist.  Alcohol 13%.  An herbal hint on the nose is not repeated in the mouth.  Flavors of focused fruit are supported by a fine structure from the start.  The cool and tangy red and black fruit has good, moderate weight which pairs with the juicy acidity.  The wine becomes a touch drier in the finish.  This has an understated complexity to it.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

You may age the aromatic 2016 Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Cote du Py

The 2016 Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Cote du Py is a fine wine to drink into the next decade.  This crisp wine is young and structured but the nose is wonderfully aromatic.  A must try for fans of Morgon.  I recommend you lay down a few bottles which you may find at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Cote du Py – low $20s
Imported by Roanoke Valley Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 50 year old vines on blue stone soils matured in concrete vats.  Alcohol 13%.  Tasted over two nights this remains a very aromatic and enticing wine with aromas of pepper, wet tobacco, and herbs.  The flavors are crisp and focused but the cranberry red fruit is weighty.  There is firm acidity, a dry structure, and almost tart finish which suggest this will be long-lived.  *** Now – 2025.