Tasted in Romanèche-Thorins with Cyril Chirouze, 01 February 2021.
Cyril on 2020:
“The 20s have a lot of colour but when you taste them you don’t have the impression that the vines suffered or that it as a vintage of extremes. The winter was hardly a winter and the vines already began their first push of growth as we started the first ‘confinement.’ For the whole vintage we always seemed to be working very fast in the vines – only during flowering at the end of May did we have some concerns, as there was some worry of oïdium but I remember touring the vines and the end of July and they were magnificent. The yields were over 40 hl/ha – that’s quite high for us. We saw some drying of the grapes leading up to the harvest – but they were still not ready, their maturity blocked, we started cutting grapes 21 August – 3 days earlier than we had first thought. They didn’t have any of the flavours of 2003 that’s why I describe the flavours as ‘classic’ and more-so too than in 2018. ”
Cyril on 2019:
“Completely different. Another very mild winter after a very dry finish to 2018. We saw the first leaves just as early as in 2020 but at this time came the cold too – and the Beaujolais, in general, is not that well equipped to deal with frost – we had two episodes and had damage in both – particularly at the bottom of Morgon and Moulin à Vent. It was a very classic Spring frost – it was also very cold high in Rochegrès but here it as a drier cold – we made 40 hl/ha here! The rest was 20-25 hl/ha – at least we had some rain in this period! We harvested 10th September – a late harvest by recent standards… Two episodes of high heat with some rain-storms in-between, the vines resisted these challenges well and lost none of their leaves. It was cooler and wetter at the start August and we noted the start of botrytis but the dry and heat that followed put paid to that. On average all the metrics look normal but the highs and lows – the extremes – tell a different story if you look at the detail it’s a year of paradox – it brought wines that are fine and show the average rather than the extremes. Analytically the wines of 2019 are not that far away to those of 2018 but there’s a finesse in 2019 and the parcels express themselves very well – indeed the weather was often quite different in the different parcels too. In 2019 we chose to make smaller quantities of our ‘grand vins’ so that our entry wines could be our battle-horses.”
As always, a very high standard to the wines at this address – and being my first visit of this tour, it set an impressive benchmark too!
DIAM for the whites.
2019 Beaujolais Blanc Clos de Loyse
Between Crêche and La Chapelle de Guinchay, quite close to the route nationale – there is granite here but it’s two metres down! This all tank elevage. A small civée for here. Cyril had to be patient to harvest – over 60% frosted. Partial malo here ‘to keep the tension.’
Quite a vibrant nose, a little ripe pineapple. Good shape and structure in the mouth – easy over the palate then there’s quite a late-arriving width of mineral flavour. That’s rather nice. Always one of the best BB here.
2019 Bourgogne Blanc Clos de Loyse
Same provenance, the Clos de Loyse has been part of the domaine since at least the 1930s. Allowed fermentation to start in tank, and then a part of the wine elevaged in barrel, only racked before the bottling. ‘It’s not meant to be a competition for Pouilly-Fuissé, it simply shows what chardonnay can bring here in the north of Beaujolais, without any limestone.’
A little touch of oak on the nose – but on a very subtle level. Fuller, silkier, a suggestion of richness and certainly a more overt impression of concentration. Wide and easily oaked over the palate – tasty but I find less ‘characterful’ than the first wine – very long finishing though!
Les rouges – first two assembly wines:
3 origins, 50% of the total from Bellevue
Not a deeply saturated colour. Open, almost airy, slowly suggesting a floral component too. Mouth-filling, good freshness – airy over the palate, a little floral – becoming more intense in the middle flavours. Fine finishing with a little licorice and saline complexity included. That’s a very attractive wine indeed that accomplishes itself very well.
8 different climats but the largest part comes from Rochegrès. About 2/3rds barrel elevage, very little new – the rest in concrete.
Hmm – that’s a wide and silky nose – grape-skin and pepper – sweeter at the core. Wider, more supple – a bit more energetic complexity – that’s so lovely in the middle and moving into the fine finishing flavour – only a caress of tannin – there’s nothing forward nor drying here. What a great, elegant villages…
2019 Moulin à Vent La Roche
From 2 hectares of vines
A nose with more width of perfume. Extra depth of flavour, modestly of tannin too. A sleeker entry, growing wider over the palate – more mineral in the middle to finishing flavours – graphite style and very long. Super – for keeping a little longer
2019 Moulin à Vent Clos du Grand Carquelin
Here there’s more depth of colour. The nose, deeper but less expressive than La Roche today – just a little peppery top-notes. If you are patient, however, slowly a there’s a very nice floral note too. Very different style to La Roche – impact, width and then volume of flavour – very fine tannin with a faint suggestion of dryness. Very wide and persistent finishing – mineral and with extra waves of finishing flavour. Also be patient – indeed more patient than La Roche – super wine again.
Extra colour – like the last. A little caramel from the barrel on this nose today – sweetness too – but maybe that’s from the fruit! Ooh – that’s so good on the palate, wide, supple but fresh too – almost a cooler style of fruit. So often my favourite of these three wines – and it is so again in 2019. A great 2019…
2019 Moulin à Vent Clos de Rochgrès
Plenty of colour once more. A wider complexity of aroma – one that would fit in Vosne! Cool-fruit, width and concentration – ooh there’s power here. The finish by comparison, whilst very, very long, has a less impactful level, it’s more subtle. Simply excellent wine, the finish is too modest for great today.
Second time vinified separately, only 0.2 ha or 3 barrels – ‘We’re closer to the rock here, yet the granitic sand seems also richer, the vines look completely different here when it’s very dry.’ 30% whole cluster retained for this wine.
A higher-toned, more airy style of nose here – still with plenty of depth. Once-more – nicely cool-fruited but with obvious concentration and backed by plenty of grainless tannin. Here the finish is more overt with ripples spreading out wide from the centre – clearly a great wine.
From the top, east-facing with little soil, blended with a lower parcel and with more depth of soil.
Again, plenty of colour. A much deeper nose – some hints of torrefaction but they quickly fade in the glass, slowly replaced by a nice floral complexity and extra freshness too. The style so different – clean, sweeping, lines of flavour. Darker fruit, the kiss from the tannin is also different – austere yet not quite. That’s a great and very different wine!
2019 IGP Syrah des Jacques
IGP – In the sector of Moulin à Vent but obviously not with that label. Just 5 years old vines. These young vines really suffered from the frost in 2019 – about 1 third whole clusters used. ‘For us it’s a curiosity, and it will stay that way.’
The colour is of Cornas – saturated. That’s a deep nose – a faint pepper but not overt – this nose is more about glossy dark fruit. Despite a little drag from the tannin, I find this also, if not quite silky, a finely textural indeed tactile wine. Concentrated and delicious – long too. This is excellent.