Tasted in Morgon-Château Bellevue with Cyrielle Rizzo, Jean Pierre Rodet and Claire Forestier, 09 February 2017.
The various château of Jean Loron make some truly impressive, massive and age-worthy wines, but rather than visit each of their ‘labels’ separately, I did them in one tasting.
Jean Pierre Rodet on 2016:
“The weather was really complicated, cold, wet, pressure from maladies – right up to about the 14 July – the only good thing was the passing of the flowering. For the first time in a while a good harvest with volume too – we really managed to avoid the hail – it was Chiroubles that was mainly hit, of-course we had a little too, there was nothing to harvest in some parts of MAV and Fleurie, there was hail in Morgon-Charmes too. The harvest was a little later, and it was good to wait, but we had good conditions – in general the wines will be good, pleasant, and will show good harvest timing and good vignerons – they will be different to 15! We are very happy with what we’ve done.”
Jean Pierre Rodet on 201%:
“We had between 25 and 50 hectolitres per hectare, depending on the area – it’s really an excellent vintage though. Really no need for pigeage, the colours and extraction was very easy. We worked with fine lees in tank, and didn’t allow the temperature to get too high during the fermentations – it was important to keep the finesse – it would have been easy to lose in this vintage.”
For the fun, we start with a 2016 whose malo was finished, sulfured, is currently in tank. Here are missive but characterful wines that you should wait for – but in many cases you will never find better – only different…
2016 Domaine de Vieille Eglise, Julienas
A little floral but with good weight, good sucrosity and freshness, nice texture too – something to look forward to – this has really nice depth and much more than ‘pleasant’ flavour…
Cement tanks, grill to keep the cap submerged.
Impressive colour. Really a luxurious depth of dark fruit – freshness at hand though. Mouth-filling volume but with a super freshness of flavour – really nice waves of flavour, slowly adding more layers – this has sweetness, but character, just a suggestion of salinity too. Excellent! Very tasty – just an attractive bite of bitter chocolate in the finish too.
Also deeply, deeply coloured… A different, fresher, yet equally black fruit – a vivid depth. A more structured wine, no less fresh, a little extra base of tannin, dark, licorice inflected, long and mineral dark finish. Excellent again – different in style and to wait for a little – yet fresh and delicious!
2015 Château de Fleurie, Fleurie
Long Elevage in foudres
A very different nose, redder fruit conserve, very nice depth. Large volume in the mouth, still with good freshness/acidity, plenty of tannin at the base, but with a fine grain – weight of flavour without becoming over-bearing. I expect this might be approachable faster than the Brouilly… the last notes in the finish are rather more floral with a modest austerity from the tannin today. It will clearly be a very nice wine!
2015 Domaine des Billards, Saint Amour
Assembly of two terroirs…
Very deep colour. A massively constructed nose, retaining freshness, faintly accented with dark spice. Ooh – this is good in the mouth- so much volume, modestly textured, accented with tannin – it leaves a big impression. The flavour is more modest, but wide, slightly mineral. Lingering and with a little more interest in the finish – good complexity here. A wine that needs to open up more – perhaps with a carafe, but lots of potential, I’m sure!
Probably for commercialising in another 5 years or so… this elevage in 30 hl foudres.
A little less aromatic volume, but with a little more fresh, dark-fruited complexity. Ooh – also impressive in the mouth – cooler style, more silky, still plenty of tannin, but here a modest astringency – virtually no grain. A wider horizon on the finish, slowly, slowly mouth-watering. A dark but fresh personality – 5 years can’t go by fast enough!
From the commune of Cercié, old vines, on granite, quite decomposed. Vinified 50% destemmed, 1.5 ha, enamel tanks… a single climat
Overt, super-attractive nose of fresh dark fruit – floral accents. Fresh, lots of volume in the mouth – the first wine with a line that accentuates the intensity of the wine. Micro-grained tannin at the base – layered finishing. The nose is more open than the flavours. But bravo! Super wine!
Between Madone and Poncié, classic rose granite looking towards the village, some altitude so it’s a little later to be harvested, but keeps its freshness – vinified with 50% stems, about 12 days with a grill.
A higher intensity of floral aroma – pretty fruit behind – clichéd super-attractive Fleurie aroma. Wide, fresh, silky then slowly growing with some tannin. A nice line of flavour here – not a wine concentrated on volume or fat – there is volume, but it’s more about the line into the finish. This is possibly the best finish so far – complex and interesting before submerging into a little tannin and finishing rigour.
2015 Château de Bellevue, Morgon Les Charmes
This to be bottled anytime in the next days. From the sector behind the château, about 7 ha of vines, some regeneration, 6ha currently in production, 2/3 on big blocks of sedimentary rock there’s granite too. The rest on the hillside is really the more degenerated sandy granite.
A different style of nose, deep and dark but really with an accentuated spice. Lots of volume, clean lines of dark and fresh flavour. – dark, layered flavour – always fresh and mobile. A line of finishing flavour…
2015 Château de Bellevue, Morgon Le Clos (Reserve Caveau)
All barrel elevage though none new, 1 plus 4-5 year old barrels. The vines are 75 years-old – about 0.5 ha
Super deep colour – like all! The first wine fully packed with aromas of vanilla oak – but they are currently commercialising the 2011 so I expect no problem – supple, wide, fresh and mobile on the palate. A dryness of tannin though virtually zero grain. Massive wine with a friendlier finish. A big, oaked thing today, but with many fine facets and time to shed the barrel notes long before commercialisation… the one wine so far that find hard to judge given the make-up…
Bottled in September. A little less than 0.5 ha just under the windmill, mainly granite rose with lots of pink sand and some veins of quartz here too – not much soil though, not much decomposition either, only a very modest slope. Vines a little over 50 years-old. Vines not yet with palisage (training). Barrel elevage mainly with 4 year-old barrels and about 11 months on lees. A small tank, maybe a little more than 50% destemmed but not more than 60%, a grill to keep the cap submerged. No more than 30°C during the fermentation.
Really dark coloured – approaching saturation! Ooh, this is so deep and dark, some freshness and plenty of oak too, but a slightly lower order than the last wine. Wide, spicy, saline, lots of energy and complexity – some oak too, really complex. Not a vin gourmand today more cerebral, but really fresh and interesting finishing too – still with oak artifacts, but like the nose, a lower order to the last wine. Faintly dry finishing. Another wine that wont be commercialised for years, justifiably so. But great and more obvious brilliance vs the Clos. ‘The clos is the same every year‘ says Claire.