Visited in St.Amour with Grégory Barbet, 13 February 2020.
Domaine de la Pirolette
71570 St.Amour Bellevue
Tel: +33 6 75 06 22 73
Grégory on 2019:
“A vintage with extremes. Fortunately, no frost here though the very bottom of St.Amour had some, actually the chardonnay that we have here – sold as BJV – was affected, we had quite a bit less, but the gamay was fine. We did about 50 hl/ha having targeted about 55. The second wave of heat certainly caused the vines to suffer, some were roasted by the sun – but fortunately, we had some rain in August that eased the situation and the weather was cooler but still fine when we harvested mid-September. But a quick harvest, the opposite of 2018. A complicated vintage for the region but I find the wines a little less ‘sunny’ than 17 and 18, a little more elegant like 2016 with a fine complexity.”
Grégory on 2018:
“The dream of every vigneron as we had full tanks – 55 hl/ha declared and good quality too. There was a good start to the growth. The flowering was practically perfect even the old vines that generally produce 35 hl/ha delivered 55. The warmth of the summer reminded of 2015, we thought that we’d be harvesting in August but with the extra volume of grapes we decided to delay to ensure proper ripeness – 05-15 September – anyway the parcels all had different maturities so we couldn’t harvest as fast as was possible in 2019. Wines with quite high degrees in 2018. Despite the higher 2018 volumes, the prices didn’t slow in St.Amour as there’s strong demand.”
Classy, mineral-infused St.Amour – super wines to wait for.
Wines bottled May and November:
Concrete to start and then finished in tank. Always a little barrel elevage here too as the barrels not chosen for the cuvée Le Carjot end up in this assembly. Just starting to commercialise this – the others not yet.
Lots of colour. A deep nose, of dark fruit. Supple, concentrated – wide, slightly saline. A good drive of finishing flavour. This is lovely in the finish of mineral line and a little graphite. Big and a bit unyielding to start with so carafe to help it open. The last drops in the glass are more fresh, open and attractive – so aerate.
2018 St.Amour La Poulette
Elevage in a cement ‘egg.’
Again full colour. Still a compact nose but from the start showing fineness and an elegance of dark fruit – that’s a good invitation. More expressive in the mouth – here there’s a mouth-filling structure but hardly a note of austerity. Supple but fresh, wide, mineral and with fresh clarity and energy too. More open than the first wine – and excellent!
A mix of concrete eggs and barrel elevage – ‘Normally half-half but thought a bit too oaky so a little less oak in this mix in 2018 – maybe the slightly higher rendement vs 2017 was to blame as that vintage ate the oak very easily. 2019 also has eaten the oak easily so will be back to 1:1’
Perhaps a shade less colour. Aromatic impact: straight away a more open fruit but backed by plenty of oak too – though a nose with an impression of silk. Fresh, driving – wow shape and energy – the oak is too much for today, though the wine wasn’t made for today. Driving cool fruit, micro-grained tannin, A wine with a certain presence, long with a combination of beautiful texture and line. Bravo – wait 3 years – or more.
2018 Beaujolais Villages Blanc
In St.Amour but there’s no AOC for that. In front of the school of St.Amour ‘so very organic!’ The base rock is blue granite. About 50% barrel elevage, but only 6 months then assembled into stainless-steel for another 2-3 more months to ‘keep the freshness.’ Not a big cuvée 1,800 bottles, ‘it’s not in my tariff but people seem to know about it anyway and it’s quickly sold-out.’ Vines here since 1947 – just before AOC St.Amour otherwise wouldn’t have been allowed to plant – declare always with lieu-dit Le Bourg, just in case one day there might be a St.Amour white AOC!
A round nose, with cushioning, nicely shaped aroma I must say, obviously aided with some oak. Nice shape, mouth-watering, mineral, not a bit harsh, the finish bright and complex. This is certainly mineral and quite citrus – a rare very tasty BJV Blanc!