Private Collection: French Fun

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Baudry 2010 Chinon La Croix Boissée

( From 2013) From a small parcel of clay over limestone on a south-facing slope above Cravant. 20 months of aging in 2 and 3 year-old barriques. This is perhaps the finest example of La Croix Boissee to date. Even as a very young wine the aromas are quite complex and wonderfully elegant. Blackberry, strawberry compote, pepper, briar, earth, chocolate and musk... There is superb concentration of black and red fruits with seemingly perfect structure and acidity and fabulous length. Destined to become a truly great Chinon, this will be best perhaps between 2020 and 2035. I remember Matthieu telling me, back in 2010, that they had finally figured out how to get the best result from this great vineyard, and here it is...

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Chidaine 2009 Montlouis Clos du Breuil

From 3 hectares of clay and silex soils over limestone, vines of 30 to 90 years old. Biodynamic farming with varieties of beneficial plants between the vines, long wild-yeast fermentation in 600 liter barrels. 3 grams per liter RS. Reviewed in LeRouge&leBlanc, "Complex notes of flowers, of elder, with a bit of licorice. The palate presents a beautifully vibrant texture, less opulent than the Baudoin. It's power is balanced by underlying acidity. Superb harmonie and elegance, long clean finish. Precise, crystalline and ethereal."

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Vatan, Edmund 2006 Sancerre Clos de la Neore

Airy and concentrated at the same time with so much richness yet steel-like precision and laser-like acidity. Yes this is a wine that will induce many a metaphor. There is a lime streak smothered in minerality along with piquant and stern acidity to enable long ageing. LF

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Coudert (Clos de la Roilette) 2011 Fleurie Cuvée Tardive

It's hard to follow the sensational 2010 cuvèe Tardive, but Alain has certainly made the best of this quite good vintage. The aromas are high-toned and very pretty, showing good acidity. The palate is quite dense with black fruits, licorice, earth and spice. The finish is very long, with ample acidity. More enjoyable now than the 2010, this should really sing within a few years and age well for ten years and more.

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Coudert (Clos de la Roilette) 2015 Fleurie Cuvée Tardive

From eighty year-old vines on clay and granite soil in Alain Coudert's beautiful Clos de la Roilette, just over the border from Moulin-a-Vent. By "Tardive," Alain Coudert implies that one should wait for this wine to mature, in this case probably about 5 to 7 years, although those unable to wait will certainly enjoy drinking it now. We're happy to report that  the 2015 Cuvée Tardive, though undoubtedly higher in alcohol than the 2014, is a big, supple, and relatively well-balanced Beaujolais that should age beautifully and is surprisingly delicious now, especially if steak or pork chops are on the menu.  The wine shows a deep red/black color with intense aromas of black raspberry liqueur, dark chocolate, violets and earth - deep but bright and very complex. The palate is dense and focused with blackberry and raspberry liqueur, cocoa, stone and citrus, with fabulous length and grip in the finish. This is showing superb potential for aging, with the higher alcohol of 2015 absorbed by the dense fruit and firm acids. Best perhaps 2020 to 2030, but delicious now as well. Bravo to Alain Coudert!

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Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) 2009 Côte de Brouilly

Jean-Paul has 2 parcels of 50 year-old vines on a steep section of the Cote with a south-east exposition at about 1,000 ft of altitude. (No, I didn't tilt the camera...) The thin soil is almost entirely stones of granite with a high iron content. (A more interesting terroir than the thicker, damper soils of Brouilly.) This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely, ripe black and red fruit aromas with a touch of cocoa and spice. The palate is deep but balanced by refreshing acidity, with a silky, slightly grainy texture. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. Highly recommended! "Contains very little sulfite," says the label "store in a cool place and consume rapidly after uncorking" We haven't noticed any problem keeping this wine, but consuming rapidly after uncorking will be easy... DL

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Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) 2009 Fleurie

From a 5 hectare semi-cirular parcel facing south in the Grille Midi vineyard, near La Madone. The soils are sandy and very poor, over pure granite, and always give low yields. "The nose is deep, stunning and very sappy, as it soars from the glass in a blaze of black cherries, raw cocoa, pomegranate, intense violets, woodsmoke and plenty of fresh thyme. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, plush and very pure, with great depth of fruit at the core, lovely soil tones, modest tannins and simply superb length and grip on the focused and palate-staining finsh." John Gilman "View From the Cellar" It seems he liked it.... Jean-Paul has done extensive work to improve this excellent parcel. A sample of the 2010 vintage showed superb aromatics and balance when tasted last month.

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Terres Dorees (Jean-Paul Brun) 2009 Morgon

From one hectare of old vines on sandy soils over decomposed granite ("gorhe") in the lieu-dit "Grand Cras." A high spot with southern exposition, similar to Corcelette but the soil is more porous, and suffers a little from dryness. This is one of my favorite Beaujolais' of the vintage thus far. The thing that strikes me about this wine is the balance between voluptuously ripe red fruits, beef-y terroir expression and a fresh tightly woven structure. The tannins are fine, and all kinds subtleties emerge with air — fennel seed, apricot peel, and citrus notes. cb

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