A nice way to ‘recover’ after a week without tasting, due to a head-cold:
While the vast majority of Beaujolais struggles to get €10 a bottle for their produce, I have in my hands two bottles that have been sent to me from a producer that is really pushing the pricing envelope. A Fleurie and a Moulin à Vent – both 2014s with yields of 20 hectolitres per hectare – or even a little less in the case of the Fleurie. The packaging is exemplary, right down to the thick wax capsules – of different colours – but then I suppose it should be: these bottles are €50 and €70 respectively.
But are they any good? Well, it’s definitely an interesting story – though I still don’t yet understand why the winemaker and owner of the domaine has a different name to that of the domaine – but all in good time, I think they are definitely worth a visit!
The grapes are triaged before ‘classic‘ semi-carbonic fermentation of whole clusters in open-topped wooden tanks before vertical pressing. These wines were aged for 24 months, equally in tank and old demi-muids. My general dislike of ‘prestige cuvées‘ is that they have far too much vanilla oak – oak that rarely fades with gamay – but, on paper at least, these sound different:
2014 Fleurie La Chapelle des Bois
A south, south-west parcel of 2 hectares on a mix of marl (limestone-rich soil) and granite. 10,000 vines per hectare.
Medium-plus colour – but not a colour of overt extraction. The nose is a little tight, faintly powdery red fruit, though it still gives the impression of a silky texture. Freshness, impressive width and a growing intensity of flavour – the flavour of pure wine – no oak make-up. There’s a strong flavour that holds on the tongue here – impressively finishing with a little bitter-chocolate tannin. The freshness could almost become a little tart if it wasn’t for a very fine texture. After about 25 minutes there is a really impressive fresh red-fruited perfume – it’s a beauty. This is impressive stuff, and it’s worth €30 of anyone’s money – but €50? – perhaps only in the context of what is happening in the Côte d’Or. Simply excellent stuff though.
2014 Moulin à Vent Chassignol
From 1 hectare of old vines – more than 90 years old – planted at a density of 13,000 per hectare. A hillside that is rich in quartz as well as the usual granite.
Deeper colour than the Fleurie, but still transparent. The nose starts tight and deep – the depth coming from a faint reduction. Wow! – On the palate this is a little dynamo – very wide, with energy, freshness and an impressively complex melting flavour. The Fleurie is, by comparison, a little subdued in character. Of-course there’s a little extra tannin here, but the waves of gorgeous flavour are simply superb. As young as this tastes – and it tastes very young – this is a wonderfully talkative, engaging wine. Bravo – great wine! With time there is a little chocolate to the depth of aroma and a more floral accent to modest but shiny black cherry. €70? Well it is certainly, to my palate, a more instantly impressive, complex and layered wine than the Fleurie – which I thought worth €30!