It is possible that my introduction to the wines of Julien Sunier could not have been better given that they are from the 2015 vintage. I really like all three of his offerings and strongly suggest you buy them all. The 2015 Julien Sunier, Regnie is the wine to drink right now. It is dark and earthy in flavor with plenty of texture and even fat. You will return for glass after glass of tasty goodness. The 2015 Julien Sunier, Fleurie possess the most intensity with gobs of grip and structure which will see this wine through many years of development. You can drink it now, as an interesting comparison, but it is best left to age for another two to three years. The 2015 Julien Sunier, Morgon strikes a middle point, crisp yet textured with deep-red rather than dark fruit. It is not as fruity as the 2015 Lapierre, Morgon. It offers more structure for development but I do not think it will develop as long as the Fleurie will. Try them all! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. Alcohol 13.5%. A bit earthy at first then raspberry candy and perfume. In the mouth is a somewhat rounded start which builds to impressive flavor which slowly expands until the finish. This is a supple wine, the weightiest of the trio, which matches the inky perfumed and dry aftertaste. There is a balance of texture, fruit, and stuffing such that this wine will live for years but the the fat and dark, coating flavors are attractive right now. ***(*) Now – 2021.
2015 Julien Sunier, Fleurie – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. Alcohol 13.5%. This is a more mineral wine with a dry start of dark red fruit which exhibits gobs of grip. This is the most tannic and dry with a touch more yeasty flavor. There are notes of stones before the citric, almost tangy finish. It wraps up with a nice low, earthy tone (somewhat reminiscent of the Regnie) in the aftertaste. **** 2017 – 2026.
2015 Julien Sunier, Morgon – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. Alcohol 13.5%. The brighter nose is perfumed. In the mouth is deep red fruit, minerals, and good grip. The tannins are there but so is a crisp acidity. The wine is full of character with some density to the bright, crisp, and subtly spiced flavor. **** Now – 2026.
The 2015 Daniel Bouland Brouilly and Morgon are big hits. After extensive breathing the 2015 Daniel Bouland, Chatenay, Chiroubles proves to be no slouch either. I tasted it alongside another bottle of 2015 Daniel Bouland, Vieilles Vignes Corcelette, Morgon which is clearly the more forward wine of the pair. The Chiroubles is a bit backward at this point and is best left to age a few years before trying again. It does have the potential to improve. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Daniel Bouland, Chatenay, Chiroubles – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 40 year old vines on sandstone soils. Alcohol 13.5%. The bright, red fruit is initially tart but develops an attractive ripe texture. The wine takes a few hours to open up, ultimately becoming a significantly textured wine. Promising flavors do come out but the sense of tightness and structure could stand some time. *** 2018-2024.
The time I spend on research continues unabated but I am still tasting wine every day. Here is a group of tasting notes from the most recently consumed French wines. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The former was aged for 18 months in stainless steel tanks and the later for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. There is a complex, meaty, black fruited nose which takes on a tobacco and smoke hint. In the mouth are some bitter black fruit, coarser, spaced-out tannins, and that ethereal flavor consistent with this cuvee. There is the meaty Syrah component but the wine tightens up with air. Might rate higher with age. *** 2018-2023.
2015 Camille Cayran, L’Elegante, Cairanne – $15
Imported by G & B Importers. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 20% Mourvedre. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose sports good perfume, violets, and pepper hints. In the mouth it is still a bit tight with focused blue and black fruit. There is a dense, citrus, and powdery flavored middle. It softens a touch with an inky finish and some fine pencil notes. This still needs a year to relax the drying tannins. *** 2017-2020.
2014 Olga Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon – $18
Imported by Louis/Dressner. Alcohol 13%. The floral, leaning towards vegetal nose makes way to black fruit flavors in the mouth. Saline flavors give a sense of weight but tart, vegetal black fruit comes out. This salty wine has edge acidity and is more for short term drinking. ** Now – 2018.
2015 Herve Souhaut, Syrah, Vin de France -$27
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. Alcohol 13%. There are gentle, attractive flavors of violets and orange flavored fruit. The dry structure is apparent from the start as is the moderately watery and juicy acidity which carries through the dry flavors of graphite in the finish. The wine does come across with some vibrancy and with air shows that it needs time to develop. ***(*) 2018-2023.
2015 Domaine de la Voute des Crozes, Cotes de Brouilly – $17
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13.5%. The nose is subtle yet bright. The tart red fruited entry does build weight into the linear, citric acidity infused middle. There is a touch of ethereal, ripe powdery flavors but that tart start never leaves one’s mind. It finishes with salivating acidity and a ripe hint of citric fruit and tannins left on the gum. **(*) 2017-2020.
Patience will rewards those who purchase this pair of 2015 vintage wine from Clos de la Roilette. I found them tight upon first opening so I waited another 48 hours before trying them again. If you are considering laying down these wines you should just spend the extra $6 to buy the 2015 Coudert (Clos de la Roilette), Cuvée Tardive, Fleurie. While it clearly needs age it already reveals more complexity on the nose and in the mouth. Beyond flavor it offers weight and texture that feels good in the mouth. It is more impressively put together so it will readily develop until the next decade. At that point you should be able to drink it after pulling the cork and not days later. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Coudert (Clos de la Roilette), Fleurie – $24
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 30-40 year old vines that underwent semi-carbonic maceration then was aged in large oak foudres. Alcohol 13%. The tart red and black fruit is almost puckering and certainly brighter. This is a the grapier of the pair but with the stuffing to age. *** 2018- 2025.
2015 Coudert (Clos de la Roilette), Cuvée Tardive, Fleurie – $30
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 80 year old vines on clay soils that underwent semi-carbonic maceration then was aged in large oak foudres. Alcohol 13%. This is quite dark in the glass with a tangy nose of berries and complex potpourri. In the mouth this is a dense, almost silky wine. Perhaps raw silk is a better description for the flavors are textured and weighty. Mulled berries take on blacker fruit in the finish as well as a licorice note. There is a dose of fine, drying tannins in the end which will help see this wine through many years of age. ***(*) 2019-2030.
The pair of 2015 wines I tasted from Daniel Bouland offer impressive levels of color and flavor at attractive prices. The 2015 Daniel Bouland, Cuvee Melanie, Cote de Brouilly is the most forward, generous, and full-bodied of the two. Tasted blind I would not guess Beaujolais due to the roundness. While you can drink it now, I would recommend waiting until next year. The 2015 Daniel Bouland, Vieilles Vignes Corcelette, Morgon is even darker and to go with that, it is in need of age. There is a core of dark fruit with a ripe, citric structure throughout, and tense acidity that will see this wine through development over the next several years. I recommend drinking the Brouilly now while you let the Morgon age. These wines are available at Weygandt-Wines.
2015 Daniel Bouland, Cuvee Melanie, Cote de Brouilly – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 70 year old vines on volcanic schist. Alcohol 14.5%. It is rather dark in the glass with a grapey color. The nose offers youthful aromas of concentrated, grapey berries. In the mouth it is rounder, quickly building weight with almost puckering acidity that grabs you. It is balanced with citric tannins and a brighter finish that leaves tannins on the gums ***(*) Now – 2021.
2015 Daniel Bouland, Vieilles Vignes Corcelette, Morgon – $27
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60-70 year old vines aged in both tank and foudre. Alcohol 14.3%. This is a very dark grapey-ruby color. The offers low-lying aromas of dark red fruit. In the mouth this is a structured, mineral wine with a core of grapey fruit and ripe citric tannins throughout. With air the wine becomes attractively tense, building flavors until the earthy finish which leaves a dose of drying tannins. ***(*) 2018-2025.
I am surrounded by Rhone-loving wine friends of whom Phil and Lou have extolled the virtues of young and old cru Beaujolais. Relatively new to this group, to me that is not his appreciation, is Bill. After a long lunch at Black Sal, Bill and I both walked over to MacArthur Beverages to pick up a few bottles. Bill recommended I try the latest release of Marcel Lapierre’s Morgon.
The 2015 vintage is reportedly strong in many regions of France and based on three different wines I had this past week, it is a potent vintage in Beaujolais. In fact, I liked the 2015 Lapierre, Morgon so much I returned to the store a second time in one week so that I could share a bottle with my brother-in-law. He too is a Rhone lover but during long stays in France and Switzerland, he and his wife would travel down to purchase Morgon in bulk from cask.
During our lunch Bill described a limit in expression for Beaujolais which could be experienced at relatively low cost. The 2015 Lapierre, Morgon must represent that limit for a young wine. It is generous in fruit yet already complex, clearly a wine to drink within a few years than one to hold on to. What caught me is the crispness of the wine which makes for the perfect delivery of the flavor. Stock up and start drinking!
Almost as impressive is the 2015 Chateau Thivin, Cotes de Brouilly, also imported by Kermit Lynch. For flavor think purple, black, and mineral. The acidity is dialed down in comparison to the Lapierre, making fine, cutting delivery. This wine is one to age for the short-term. Also in need of a little age is the 2015 Domaine du Vissoux (Chermette), Cuvee traditionnelle, Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes. Recommended to me by Warren, this is a finely textured wine, with focused, grapey flavors that should open up with slight age. I thought it drank best on the second night.
2015 Lapierre, Morgon – $25
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13.5%. The nose reveals earthy waves of aroma mixing with vintage floral perfume that speaks of complexity. In the mouth the dense flavors are of spiced red and black fruit with just the right amount of lively acidity. In fact, the wine is almost crisp with a moderate structure for the rather short term. With air subtle, sweaty and earthy sweet fruit come out. One bottle developed a hint of banana whereas another was a touch more pure. **** Now – 2019.
2015 Chateau Thivin, Cotes de Brouilly – $24
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13%. Darker, more purple and black fruit, remained focused throughout consumption. The wine is impressively mineral with a cutting vein of acidity. With good stuffing, this wine could stand a year or two to open up. ***(*) 2017-2022.
2015 Domaine du Vissoux (Chermette), Cuvee traditionnelle, Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes – $18
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. Alcohol 13%. This is a focused, linear wine with black and red fruit woven with moderate tannins. It is grapey in flavor with a little spice in the end where there is a finely textured and dry finish. *** 2017-2020.
2009 Domaine Marcel Lapierre, Morgon
This very well could be the best Bojo of the great 2009 vintage. Those who have written this wine off have not tasted mature bottles. This wine has morphed from really good to great. Spicy red berry flavors with a good amount of tannin still there. Serious lip smacking minerals. Really delicate yet powerful. Each sip brings you back for another. A wine of immense pleasure. Drinking well now but is still very young and will reward good cellaring for the next five or so years. Yum. DB.