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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 floral and textured 2016 Domaine des Braves, Regnie

December 13, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2016 Domaine des Braves, Regnie is a pleasant return to a wine that I have not tasted in four vintages.  In that span, it appears that wine making has shifted from fermentation in cement tank to stainless steel.  Fear not, for the wine is just as good now as it was in the past.  This particular bottle offers plenty of fruit and texture, effectively combining floral notes and weight.  It is a perfect wine to drink mid week.  I suggest you pick up a few bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Domaine des Braves, Regnie – $16
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 45+ year old vines on soils of sand, pink granite, and limestone. It is fermented in stainless steel then aged in a combination of stainless steel and tanks.  Alcohol 13%.  There is a dense start of tart red and black fruit flavors before a more floral middle of red currant. The wine is riper and sweeter in the finish as it becomes more ethereal in nature.  It has a fine ripe, dry texture and even develops more weight with air.  In the end this is a dense, round, mineral wine which picks up intensity towards the finish.  *** Now – 2021.

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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Olga Raffault and G. Descombes from Louis/Dressner

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Both the 2010 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon and 2013 G. Descombes, Régnié engage you with their aromas then draw you in with contemplative flavors.  The Raffault showed the most complexity but it also barely budged over two nights.  There is a clear record that this wine ages very well so I suggest you simply bury a few bottles in your basement.  The Descombes is an impeccably made wine that will not tire you out as you drink glass after glass.  You should try them both.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from roughly 50 year old vines on a riverbank slope with soils of limestone and clay.  It was fermented then aged for 12 to 16 months in large casks.  Alcohol 12.5%.  It had the sort of earthy, complex nose that always makes me wonder how it came to be.  There were firm flavors of black and red fruit before the wine became drier with a seamlessly integrated, drying tannic structure and prominent graphite notes.  There was a lipsticky middle before a rather delicate, perfumed finish, and earthy aftertaste.  There is a sense of lightness but this is a young wine that has some weight and will age very well.  ***(*) 2018-2025.

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2013 G. Descombes, Régnié – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Gamay.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a nose of wet tea and scented spices.  In the mouth were tart and lean red fruit flavors that took on fresh pepper in the finish.  The wine was gently rounded with some weight.  The acidity was perfectly integrated as was the moderate, drying structure.  It took on some wood notes.  *** Now-2020.

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Four Recently Enjoyed French Wines

Today’s post features four French wines which I recently tasted.  Both the 2012 Domaine des Braves, Regnie and the 2011 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau are youthful wines which I highly recommend.  They both remind me of clean, fresh fruit.  Take a close look at the Rimbert label for the “2011” vintage year is hand stamped over the old “2010.”  When I met Elisabeth Saladin of Domaine Saladin just over one year ago I got to taste the 2007 Domaine Saladin, Fan de Lune.  You may read my impressions of that and other wines in my post Tasting the Wines of Elisabeth Saladin at MacArthur Beverages.  Since then the wine has developed a pebbly texture and dried herbal flavors.   The 2007 Domaine de Alary, La Font d’Estevenas reveals riper fruit and more overall drive.  It has developed some maturity and should continue to do so over the next several years but will last longer.  I enjoyed all four wines but if I had to pick only two then I would go with the Domaine des Braves and the Domaine Rimbert. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine des Braves, Regnie – $16
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Gamay.  The whole-cluster fruit was fermented in cement.  Alcohol 13%.  The scented nose revealed good aromas of red currant and raspberry.  In the mouth there were fresh red berries and a tiny pepper note which mixed with the tart acidity and bit of structure.  The wine developed strawberry flavors and learn red fruit with black minerals.  There were very fine, grapey tannins.  *** Now-2016.

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2011 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau, Saint-Chinian – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan. Alcohol 12.5%.  The enjoyable nose revealed macerated raspberries and perfumed aromas.  In the mouth there were tart red flavors that were round.  The mouth then followed the nose with a very fine berry purple texture and grapey personality.  A nice wine!  *** Now-2016.

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2007 Domaine Saladin, Fan de Lune, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $20
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is mostly Mourvedre with some Grenache and Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vines.  The vineyards are high in minerals with galets roules.  Vinification depends upon the varietal with aging for nine months in foudres.  Alcohol 11-14%.  In the mouth there was almost pebbly fruit which mixed with dried herbs.  The dry flavors mixed with the tannins.  It showed some weight with air along with flavors of dried herbs, a hint of citrus, and ripeish-wood box tannins.  ** Now-2017.

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2007 Domaine Alary, La Font d’Estevenas, Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah sourced from a vineyard planted in 1961.   Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was robust with mulberry and black grapey aromas.  The wine starts with ripe flavors of red and blue fruit, a hint of maturity, and a little tang.  There was some weight and drive to the fruit.  With air the flavors become drier with the mature notes developing in the middle.  The flavors expand in the mouth but the wine maintains a sense of lightness in the finish.  *** Now-2020.

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