Tasted high up in the Clos de Haute-Combe with Vincent Audras, 14 February 2018.
Clos de Haute-Combe
Tel: +33 4 74 04 41 09
Vincent on 2017:
“I’m happy that for the first time in 6 years, we had no hail – here was also the limit of the frost – nothing was particularly damaged but some parts still produced no grapes. The humidity was low and it was a very dry year so for that reason we were saved from the frost – there were also no big storms – they stayed behind the hills of Juliénas. The dryness was our biggest problem – steep, draining, south-facing slopes lost quite a lot. So here was a little more than 32 hl/ha vs the normal target of 45 hl/ha. The quality looks great, in fact I started in 1977 and these are best grapes I’ve harvested – 40 years and it’s the best – small grapes – not much juice but beautiful.
“Beaujolais is on a roll, 12 was difficult and the 13 started that way too – but the latter are coming good and so that’s a great sequence of vintages – 2017 will be another super interesting vintage to add to that list.”
Vincent on 2016:
“We were hailed in the Spring and then again in July – it’s a good quality but there’s really not very much. The first hail was very early so didn’t have much effect, but the second made a big difference, because of that we had a volume about 60% of usual. For us it’s a very good vintage; the slight spice is very characteristic of this part of Juliénas, the extra freshness is very gamay and very Beaujolais. ”
Assuredly excellent wines.
2016 Juliénas Tradition
This bottled about 1 month.
An attractive depth of relatively dark-red fruit. A core of concentration, radiating out with freshness and quite some energy. The tannin slowly grows forming something of a halo to the flavour. Attractive waves of finishing flavour. There’s a little rigour here today – probably from the bottling, but this is a super wine.
2016 Cuvée Variations de Gamay
On lyre behind the house, but lyre isn’t allowed by the appellation. ‘Very interesting in warm years as you don’t get the reflection of the heat from the ground.’ This bottled in May 2017.
A more open nose, less impact and less depth. More open and incisive, bright, pure, more saline. Slowly growing tannin again, An extra dimension of finishing flavour toady – wide, beautiful flavour. The last was perhaps a little hamstrung by its recent bottling – none of that here. Super wine again.
2016 Juliénas Cuvée Prestige
VV. 1 year in foudre, then 10 months in barrel. Will be bottled in June.
An extra complexity in the width of aroma, lightly spiced and saline – red fruited below. Supple, wide, more concentrated, not fat, there is the merest accent of the barrel – though it’s very well hidden. Lots of tannin to fade here. Like the last wine there’s an extra dimension of finishing flavour but here with more depth and weight to that flavour. Really to be patient with, but this has weight, complexity and freshness. Super again.
2016 Julienas Nobilis
this is essentially the ‘tradition’ but the last bottled after longer elevage. Still in tank, maybe for bottling in June.
A nose of depth but freshness above – gives the impression that some gas may be lurking. Actually very little gas, but a more open width of pure red fruit than I noted for the first tradition, also the tannin is less overt and lovely mouth-watering long finish. Very yum!
2015 Juliénas Cuvée Prestige
Not long bottled, not yet commercialised.
Less width, faint spice and much more depth of aroma. Supple, plenty of structure but there are really impressive layers of flavour here – a lovely dark chocolate austerity in the finish – delicious. A wine of weight but not fat as there’s a super freshness. The finish is subtle but persistent. Excellent!