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A trio of 2017 Julien Sunier Beaujolais

January 16, 2019 Leave a 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.

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.

2016 Julienas and Morgon from Lapierre

In 2016, hail damaged more than 7 acres of Lapierre family vines, prompting the purchase of fruit from nearby Julienas.  I tasted this one-off cuvee with its brother from Morgon over two nights.  That the same hand made the wine is evident so the comparison between the two wines is fun.  The Morgon has a bit more stuffing being meatier with more tannins.  The Julienas is higher-toned, more floral and elegant.  In this context I found the Morgon to be a touch more satisfying.  But then I first drank the Julienas with an old friend at Buvette, it was exactly what I craved after a day of travel.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Lapierre, Morgon – $30
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines on granitic gravel soils.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose is articulate with ripe aromas.  There is a ripe, bright core of red fruit and minerals with a drier finish.  Both citric acidity and pithe-like tannins come out in the aftertaste.  Enjoyably meaty with good acidity.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

2016 Lapierre, Julienas – $35
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines on volcanic and schist soils.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is relatively brighter and higher-toned.  The high-tone echoes on the start with citric red fruit and zippy acidity yet the wine has attractive fat.  It is floral and fruitier with spices in the watering finish.  With air a floral, sweet black tea note comes out.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

Gamay for Thanksgiving

November 24, 2017 Leave a comment

For Thanksgiving this year I served six different bottles of Gamay all of which are currently available for purchase.  The 2015 La Dernière Goutte, Sang Neuf is the first wine I had everyone taste.  I must admit I was very curious to try this wine because it is imported by Jeffrey Snow of Glou Glou Wines.  Some of you may know Jeff from his days as a wine distributor in the Washington, DC, area.  A few years ago he moved to France for university which precipitated, based on the stream of vineyard and open bottle pictures I saw, some serious research.  Jeff is back in the area importing the wines he loves to drink in France. This first bottle I have tried of his is produced by Cyrille Vuillod who farms vines in St-Etienne la Varenne.  Vuillod does not add anything to his wine including sulphur dioxide.  They are bottled with the natural carbon dioxide as a preservative so there is spritz even after double-decanting.  Jeff writes of freshness and now I understand!  The 2015 vintage was very warm in Beaujolais but Vuillod’s wines, which normally achieve 11%-12% alcohol, came in at 13%.  The wine is surprisingly deep at first but with air the flavors become tart carried by some killer, crunchy acidity.  The wine is stable too.  Grab a bottle if you want to learn what freshness is all about!

As for the other bottles I served, the 2015 Guillaume Gilles, Les Massardieres confirms once again that it is an awesome bottle of wine.  The 2015 Jean-Paul Brun, Moulin a Vent Terres Dorees remained rather focused and tight all day.  It did develop an attractive, creamy finish but this wine is best cellared for a few years.  The 2015 Jean Foillard, Morgon Cote du Py certainly has strong potential.  Buy a few bottles for your cellar.  Of the 2016 and 2015 Lapierre, Morgon I preferred the 2016.  I really enjoy the sweaty, earthy components of the 2015 but it felt, in comparison, weighed down as the 2016 is crisp and vigorous.  All of these wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 La Dernière Goutte, Sang Neuf – $26
Imported by Glou Glou Wines.  Alcohol 13%.  A slight spritz hangs around.  The wine is unmistakably, very fresh with almost crunch acidity supported the spiced red fruit.  The wine is deep at first but with air the fruit brightens up.  This is a textured wine with an ethereal expansion of flavor.  It is rounder near the end when it takes on tartness and weight. ***(*) Now – 2018.

2015 Guillaume Gilles, Les Massardieres – $25
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Gamay.  Alcohol 13%.  Slightly textured with deep flavor of cranberries, red fruit, and a notion of minerals.  It becomes drier towards the finish with additional complexity from spices that last through the aftertaste.  Lovely.  **** Now – 2022.

2015 Jean-Paul Brun, Moulin a Vent Terres Dorees – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. Alcohol 13%.  The wine remains focused with a perfumed start, red fruit, and minerals.  There are grapey hints in the tart, watering acidity driven finish.  It is lighter and drier in nature but with a surprisingly creamy finish.  It does not give up much right so is in need of age.  **(*) 2019-2030.

2015 Jean Foillard, Morgon Cote du Py – $40
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 14%.  This wine first reveals tart red fruit, grippy cranberry, and watering acidity.   After several hours the middle rounds out, the baking spices and acidity become integrated, and it develops weight.  It even takes a honied texture in the middle.  I think there is good potential here.  ***(*) 2019-2027.

2015 Lapierre, Morgon en magnum – $55
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13.5%.  There is mineral driven red fruit with some black hints.  The flavors are dense, somewhat low-lying, with a sweaty and earthy finish.  *** Now – 2018.

2016 Lapierre, Morgon – $22
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13%.  A good nose is followed by fresh and perfumed flavors in the mouth. The clean red fruit has grapey weight and a ripe, lifted finish.  Crisp compared to the 2015 vintage.  ***(*) Now – 2019.

Exciting 2015 Beaujolais from Julien Sunier

November 15, 2016 Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A pair of 2015 Beaujolais from Daniel Bouland

October 14, 2016 Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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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.

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