Tasted high up in the Clos de Haute-Combe with Vincent Audras, 12 February 2020.
Clos de Haute-Combe
Tel: +33 4 74 04 41 09
Vincent on 2019:
“2019 is a very good vintage – we say years in 9 and 5! Spring was bizarre following virtually no winter – then came some frost in some places but not here on the hillsides. We had practically no maladies, but the dryness was a problem – we could see storms around but the rain never landed here. Really too much sun and heat in the afternoons – we still had great looking grapes but lacked juice – about 32 hl/ha being the end result. The wines have a nice vivacity that we don’t perhaps have in 18 but maybe less complex than 18 – they are differently constructed and less standardized – maybe consistent is a better word. We had some high degrees as the alcohol rose but the ripeness didn’t come with it in some places – so we had to wait. I think they will be super wines for the image of Beaujolais.”
Vincent on 2018:
“2018 was a special vintage but still only in the 30s hl/ha here. The warmest since records began. Starting hard because of all the rain to start the year, and a lot of mildew in some parts of France so it was not always easy to get into the vines at the best time with the best products. Then a little warmer and drier then really warm and dry – here were had only 30mm of rain in the best part of 4 months. We talk about the best-exposed slopes facing the south, but maybe in the future we talk about northern exposures! But in the end we had a super harvest and the quality is certainly there. ”
Each wine excellent – nicely fresh and energetic wines in 2018.
A mix of cork and diam-style seals:
2018 Juliénas Clos de Haute Combe Tradition
Bottled end of autumn
That’s a lovely nose, some flowers and a very modest spice too. Full, nice energy, a litte rasp of tannin – wide-flavoured. Lovely, slowly fading. Super wine.
2018 Juliénas Escuissin
A new cuvée here – named as the lieu-dit.
A subtle suggestion of pepper on this nose. Lovely line in the mouth, almost spiced, with mouth-watering energy, then waves of finishing flavour too – This is super wine, faintly tannic in the finish. Really excellent.
2018 Cuvée Variations de Gamay
On lyre behind the house, but lyre isn’t allowed by the appellation. The 20 year lyre-trained vine ‘test’ has come to the end this year – ‘multiple advantages are evident though less visible in the wines.’ The report will head to the INAO, Vincent thinks it’s a good method. This was bottled at the same time as the last wine – just before the harvest.
The lyre-trained vines.
Plenty of colour. More width of aroma – a little floral in this case. A little more round, beautifully mouthwatering – plenty of structure, modest tannin – no grain. Wide, long-lasting flavour – really impressive. It doesn’t quite have the same tension as the last but the finish is really lovely. Excellent again.
2018 Gamaret VdF
No barrels used here – ‘it’s pure!’
The nose is deep a little more textured, and floral – but different flowers too. The structure is fresh and open, there’s a little more structure here – the tannin bringing a textural drag but no grain. That’s a super finish again – long and moreish, almost touched by licorice. I like this a lot!