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The step-son of Georges Descombes, Damien has worked alongside him since early childhood. L earning everything from Descombes in the vines and shared cellar has instilled the same values in Damien's work ethic: organic viticulture, hand harvesting, native yeasts, zero intervention in the cellar and little if any sulfur at bottling. The 2016 Chiroubles VV is a beautiful wine showing bright aromas of ripe raspberry, morello chery, violet and citrus, really quite pretty. There is a lively mineral attack on the palate with earthy plum, cherry and raspberry fruit that is sappy, earthy and long. Quite lovely now, this should really sing after a few years of cellaring. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Damien Coquelet, working in the same stlye as his step-father Georges Descombes, has created some beautifully old-fashioned Beaujolais in 2016. The Morgon Cote de Py shows lovely aromas of raspberry, strawberry, citrus and rose, very pretty and bright. The palate shows a bit more stucture and darker fruit than the Damien's Chiroubles, with sappy strawberry fruit, a bit of citrus and a more earthy character. The finish is refreshing and long with juicy berry fruit and firm acidity. Serve quite cool with chicken and white meats, grilled foods and charcuterie. Lovely wine.
From eighty year-old vines on clay and granite soil in Alain Coudert's beautiful Clos de la Roliette, just over the border from Moulin-a-Vent. By "Tardive," Alain Coudert implies that one should wait for this wine to mature, and we can certainly see this 2017 improving with a few years in the bottle. The nose is full of bright notes of raspberry, tart plum, rhubarb, beetroot, and a hint of fennel. The palate reveals beautiful earthy and mineral notes, with soft, ripe tannins backed by good acidity. Hints of violets, dark cherries, cracked black pepper and smoke round out the layered palate. The wine feels quite compact at the moment, and will definately continue to improve in the bottle, but if one is tempted to drink now (and why not?!), it could use a good decant. Oskar Kostecki
Considered one of the finest producers in Beaujolais, Clos de la Roilette has 9 hectares in Fleurie, with an eastern exposure, bordering the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, and yields remarkably age-worthy Gamay. The Couderts feel that their particular terroir (mainly clay and manganese) and the age of their vines (30 to 80 years old) account for the richness and intensity of their wines. They are deeply colored, richly perfumed and seriously structured wines of relatively small production. In 2017, Roilette lost 70% of their estate fruit due to damage from frost in April and from two hailstorms during the summer. As a result, the fruit was partly destemmed for vinification and also supplemented with some purchased Fleurie fruit. The wine shows a deep red/garnet color with aromas of violet, ripe cherry aand black raspberry, citrus zest and cocoa; there is ample sweet cherry and raspberry fruit on the palate which is framed in firm acidity and prominent mineral and earth flavors, which continue in the long, sapid finish. Despite the difficult conditions of the vintage, the 2017 Fleurie is a great success for Alain Coudert! Delicious now and over the next five to eight years... David Lillie
Georges Descombes is one of the great producers of natural Beaujolais - the Descombes Brouilly comes from 3.5 hectares on steep slopes, farmed organically. Carbonic maceration with whole clusters then a slow vertical press to finish the fermentation. No additives, a small addition of SO2 before bottling. The 2016 shows the pretty, ripe but balanced fruit of this vintage with lovely aromas of strawberry, blackberry and violet with herbal and citrus notes. The palate is fresh and mineral infused with berry fruits and citrusy acids. This is a lovely food-friendly Brouilly to serve, quite cool, with chicken, pork, charcuterie and mild cheeses...
Georges Descombes has once again made a light and lovely Morgon in 2016 that will be a joyful drink this winter and over the next few years. The wine shows a bright garnet color with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and rose with a bit of citrus peel and spice. The palate is light but nicely sapid and ripe with supple red fruits with hints of citrus, earth and spice. The finish is ripe and refreshing with juicy acidity. Serve cool and enjoy, this very pretty wine is highly recommended! David Lillie
Georges Descombes lost a great deal of his crop to frost in 2016, but was able to find grapes to his liking in Saint-Amour for this unique Vieilles Vignes cuvée. The wine shows beautiful aromatics of ripe black raspberry, black cherry and plum with rose and violet and hints of citrus. The palate is supple and sappy with earthy black raspberry and red currant fruit, with a lovely texture and firm saline acidity and stone flavors in the finish. While the wine is quite delicious now, two to five years of aging will bring a softer and more complex expression. Lovely wine. David Lillie
The 2017 Regnié from Geroges Descombes is a finely balanced wine, even in a warmer vintage, Ripe and generous fruit is offset with lively acidity and a vivid intensity on the palate that keeps this wine lifted and fresh. On the nose there are aromas of red and black currant, strawberry, raspberry, black cherry, rose, violets, and licorice. The palate has soft and finely integrated tannins and shows notes of strawberry and raspberry compote, cranberry, blackberry, pomegranate, orange peel, baking spice and a granitic minerality, especially on the complex and satisfying finish. This is a very versatile wine, and I wouldn't hesitate to pair with a wide range of foods, from roast chicken, to burgers or even a pork chop. It was equally at home accompanying the watching of a movie on the couch with just a little, hastily composed cheese plate for backup. A joyful wine for all occasions. Oskar Kostecki
Christian Ducroux' 5 hectare estate has been organic and biodynamic since 1985, and has operated as a nearly self-sufficient farm, producing its own fertilizer and compost, and plowing and harvesting almost entirely without machinery. The vines average over 60 years of age and are replaced by massale selection, giving extremely low yields and low levels of alcohol. Christian's farming is among the most thoughtful and inspired practiced anywhere in the world and his wines express this work in a joyful natural way. "Faites des vins peu alcoolisés avec un joli parfum" said Jules Chauvet (Make wines low in alcohol and with lovely aromas) and no one does this better than Christian - the 2018 Prologue weighs in at a hefty 11.5% alcohol due to the extra ripeness of what is shaping up to be a great vintage in Beaujolais, and shows a fairly dark red/black color with lush aromas of crushed raspberry, strawberry and blackberry (!) with bright floral notes and hints of roast meat and citrus. The palate is lush, bright and supple with ripe black raspberry, citrus, earth and mineral flavors. This lively, very alive and simply beautiful wine takes you into the soils of Ducroux's vineyards and is a tonic for the soul. Zero added sulfur, keep cool - highly recommended for lovers of natural wines. David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes makes this beautiful Beaujolais from a small parcel of 90 year-old Gamay vines of various old varieties in Leynes, just south of Pouilly-Fuissé. The parcel is at 1200 ft in altitude, with granite soils. From the warm 2015 vintage, the wine shows ripe blackberry aromas with earth, mint, cocoa and game; the palate is dense with supple blackberry fruit framed in firm acidity and strong flavors of earth, citrus and minerals. This is a complex and delicious Gamay that will accompany grilled foods this summer, stews and tagines throughout the year. Cellaring for five to eight years would be interesting. David Lillie
Known for the Vignes du Maynes wines from Cruzille, in the south of Burgundy, Julien Guillot has had the chance over the years to take long term leases on a few vineyards south of Macon in the Beaujolais. Due to issues with frost and hail in 2016, and to the loss of a rental vineyard to an old owner who decided to tear out vines, this vintage of the "Climat" is a combination of grapes from Chenas and from a vineyard called "Pierres Bleues" which is near Villefranche. Chenas is all granite, and Pierres Bleues is limestone. The wines fermented and aged separately and were blended a few months before bottling. From what I percieve, there's hint of granitic spiciness from Chenas, and some lift and energy from the limestone site. There's lovely fresh rasberry fruit on the attack, and a very mineral, stony finish. Fresh and elegant at 12.5%. Eben Lillie
The Mont Brouilly, a volcanic "bump" in the granite bedrocks of the Beaujolais, is a terroir of mineral-rich bluish rock with little or no soil, giving a quite different character to the wines. The Lapalu 2014 is from a one hectare parcel of old vines with northeast exposure, so late to ripen. The fruit was 80% destemmed and 20% whole cluster carbonic maceration, with 10 mg/liter of SO2 added only before bottling. This is a quite different style than the 2015s, showing a bright black/red color and earthy aromas of blackberry, black cherry and red currant with violet, black pepper and citrus. The palate is dense and earthy with blackberry and black cherry, framed in firm acidity and quite prominent mineral flavors that continue in the well-structured finish. Still a young wine, this will drink well with grilled meats and stews, best with a long decant or three to five more years in the cellar.
("From vines his grandfather reports were old when he began farming in 1940..." says David Schildknecht) This is a superb, delicate but intensely flavored Beaujolais that is a real pleasure! Very complex and pretty aromas of bright raspberry, plum and dried cherry with rose, spice, and earth. The flavors continue on the palate with black raspberry and red-currant fruit, velvety and long with an earthy core and nice sappy fruit with citrus and minerals in the finish. This will deepen with age, but it's so delicious now, why wait?
The Pignard's Beaujolais-Villages is from a high-elevation parcel with 40 year-old vines in sandy clay over decomposed granite. There is a very short carbonic-maceration to preserve the fresh fruit and only a tiny addition of sulfur before the bottling. The 2016 is a subtle, elegant and well-structured Beaujolais, showing pretty aromas of raspberry, plum and tart cherry, with hints of violet, citrus and herbs. The palate shows firm acidity and saline mineral flavors, framing the blackberry and raspberry fruit, with hints of mint, spice and citrus. This is a real Beaujolais of terroir that is elegant and delicious now and will improve over the next few years. David Lillie
We're very proud to have the lovely Morgons of Roland Pignard at Chambers Street. From high-elevation 50 to 60 year-old vines in the commune of Saint-Joseph north-west of Villié-Morgon, in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes. Biodynamic farming, no SO2 until a minimal dose before bottling, with a relatively short period of carbonic-maceration. The wine shows a bright medium red color with elegant aromas of black raspberry, black chery and earth with rose and violet. The palate is deep and ripe with firm acidity but stays light on its feet at 12.5% alcohol, with black and red fruits and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. The "Tradition" cuvée is slightly rounder and deeper, but there is little difference between the wines in this super vintage for the Pignards. Serve cool with chicken and pork dishes, and put a few bottles away for five years as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is simply superb in 2016. Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from steep hillside vineyards, the wine ferments naturally, with approximately 10mg of SO2 added and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The 2016 vintage was a difficult one for the growers, resulting in low yields, but with a sunny late season that produced beautiful wines with pure fruit, light to medium body and firm acidity. The 2016 Morgon Tradition is a superb wine, sowing a deep red color and aromas of ripe morello cherry, strawberry and black raspberry liqueur, with violet, rose, orange peel and earth. There is berry liqueur on the palate which is dense and long but not heavy. It's well balanced and bright at 12.5 % alcohol, finishing with sappy black fruits, citrus and earth. Serve in it's vibrant youth with steak frites, charcuterie, coq au vin and cow cheeses. This will be worth cellaring, best perhaps 2022 - 2030. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Jean-Paul Brun of Domaine des Terres Dorées has 2 parcels of 50 to 60 year-old vines on a steep section of Mont Brouilly with a south-east exposition at about 1,000 ft of altitude. Here the soil is all stones, mostly a blue volcanic rock rather than the granite soils prevalent in the Beaujolais. This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely aromas of ripe blackberry and bright fruits such as boysenberry and red currant, very floral with violets, citrus, cocoa and earth. The palate is ripe but balanced (at 12.5% alcohol) with very sappy black and red fruit liqueur with mineral salts and citrusy acids that linger in the lush finish. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Always one of the greatest of Beaujolais. From 4.75 hectares near Le Clachet, from vines averaging 70 years of age, with some planted before World War One. About 2,000 cases are produced. Vineyard work is biodynamic, fermentation is with wild yeasts at a moderately low temperature (10 - 13 degrees Celsius). Aging is mostly in old barrels from DRC with minimal extraction.. The 2017 Thevenet shows a bit of reduction, then complex aromas of red currant, rose, black plum, earth, violet, blood orange, spice and licorice, light and pretty when first opened then darkening with aeration. The palate shows bright red currant and berry liqueur with mineral, citrus, rose and spice. After three hours open the wine has gathered intensity with deep sappy and earthy black fruits. The finish is firm with citrusy acidity, fruit and mineral flavors with good density and length. Decant if drinking now, this superb natural Morgon will be best from 2022 to 2030. David Lillie