Tasted in La Chapelle de Guinchay with Stéphane Aviron, 19 February 2020.
Maison Stéphane Aviron
2093 Route des Deschamps,
71570 La Chapelle de Guinchay
Tel: +33 6 70 31 63 61
The first Beaujolais that I bought in case quantities were under the label of Potel-Aviron – I remember 2004 Fleurie and 2005 Morgon Côte du Py. I had the chance to taste those wines at the same time as tasting the range of wines from Nicolas Potel, in those days, in Nuits St.Georges. I once even tasted with Stéphane. Much wine has passed under the bridge since those days – I thought it would be nice to catch up with Stéphane.
Stéphane still works with Nicolas Potel, still using the Potel-Aviron label, though here I’m tasting the wines with Stéphane Aviron labels. “The wines have the same origins – only in vintages that are much more complicated due to a lack of volume – usually because of frost or hail – could there be a difference, as sourcing is so difficult.”
Stéphane’s business is predominantly export, referring to the proposed increase in US taxes at the time of my visit: “We are still well-placed in terms of price/quality but if the price goes up $5 that’s still fewer potential customers – and nobody benefits from the higher price – only the US government…”
“The 1st December 2000 was my start-date for the business, so I’m now approaching my 20th anniversary. I just try to offer good things – and after 20 years I’m still here! I’m not looking to produce heavy wines – fruity and some finesse – something to drink and enjoy in the afternoon – friendly wine.” And Stéphane’s thoughts on the past vintages? “2018’s a very good vintage, one of the best, along with 2000, 2005 and maybe 2009 (if you drank it at the right time), 2015 and 2018. The rest are below, or rather heterogenous, like 2017 and maybe 2019.”
A good range of wines with occasional great wines.
One or two wines showed a little reduction – “It’s because of the DIAM,” says Stéphane. All the wines are now DIAM sealed, though the bottling was nearly 8 months ago – in June:
2018 Beaujolais Villages
A relatively easy to source good things and to vinify. This from Quincié with a little of the neighbouring cru’s bluestone in the soil. Quite deep soil on the same side of the road as the Côte de Brouilly.
That’s a good depth of aroma- fresh but rather compact in general though. Easy start, widening over the palate, growing with a good energy and always edged with a modest salinity. It could be brighter but this has weight and flavour interest – it’s long too – yum!
2018 Fleurie Maison de la Madrière Vieilles-Vignes
5-10 cm of soil and then it’s the granite on a steep soil in La Madone. Traditional semi-carbonic, not too long maceration – ‘I want to see the gamay’ – elevage in foudres
Deeper colour to match the deeper nose – round, darker-fruited, faint chocolate. In the mouth deep again but probably because there’s a faint reduction. Very good texture – a little velvet and modest tannin below. A good, slightly mineral finish.
2018 Côte de Brouilly Vieilles-Vignes
Parcels in the south and the west, the latter with a little more clay – foudre elevage.
Plenty of colour again. Hmm – that’s an attractive nose – a little roundness and a perfumed floral. Fresh, structural – more tannin – this is for the more patient with some dryness to the tannin – that should be gone in a year or so and the structure is such that you should anyway be patient. This is very good – if you wait! The finish has a little extra!
2018 St.Amour Vieilles-Vignes
From the sector near Juliénas
A little less colour. A nose that has a vibration of fruit, also a suggestion of DIAM reduction. Lovely attack in the mouth – wide and energetic – with a depth of flavour but no richness of texture. This has a very light reduction but the flavours are mouth-watering and good. The finish is excellent – long, mineral and faintly saline.
2018 Chénas Vieilles-Vignes
‘The first wine I vinified in 1993 in the cuverie attached to the house here. Old vines – so old we’re having to replace some of them – generally 60-110-years-old in Au Brureau.’ Bottled only a month ago.
Not the biggest nose, but pure and very attractive with the best clarity of top notes so far and more than a suggestion of interesting fruit below. Mouth-filling – good structure, micro-grained tannin supporting. Really plenty of salinity in the clinging, persistent finish. This is fine and long, but have 12-months, plus, of patience.
2018 Juliénas Vieilles-Vignes
Violettes and La Prins – they touch – 3 parcels – ‘I’ve worked with all of these suppliers for 20 years now, there’s occasionally a new source if needed, otherwise the long-term relationships here.’
Lots of colour here. A fresh width – plenty of fruit and flowers – they could be better differentiated/separated. Super entry, incisive, fresh, a grain of tannin, cool fruit – sweeping lines of flavour here. The grain of tannin seemingly salted. A wine with so many great parts – definitely a wine to wait for, with anticipation!
Thorins and Rochegrès included in this blend. All barrel – none new – 3-8 years-old
Like the Juliénas, a deeper colour than most of the others. The most impressive nose yet – full – open, very complex – that’s great! There’s a little barrel in the complexity here – but this is a concentrated wine – with freshness – with a grain of complexity and tannin. Hyper-impressive. Bravo – more clarity and energetic concentration than any of the other wines so far! You should wait for this, but you don’t have to wait for this!
2018 Morgon Côte du Py Vieilles-Vignes
Barrel elevage like the MaV
A little less colour. That’s a nicely fresh, more airy nose after the MaV – though there’s still a lot here! Like some others, a small reduction on the palate – the wine here is big, concentrated, with a saline tannin complexity and a good balance. Definitely wait for this, but it’s lovely. Excellent wine!
2015 Fleurie Domaine de Madrière Vieilles-Vignes
Plenty of colour, a hint of aroma development, slightly spiced, quite deep. Still a width of fine-grained tannin at the base – the mid-palate has a silky texture – excepting the tannin! Despite some obvious development, this remains fresh, young structural wine, a little seriousness, austerity even, such that I wouldn’t touch another for at least a couple more years. Very good wine though…