Tasted at the Château Bellevue in Morgon, with Philippe Bardet & Frédéric Maignet 16 March 2021
Unfortunately, my planned visit to taste the 2018s here – almost the same time last year – was the very first casualty of the covid-confinement in France – not just confinement, the borders between France and Switzerland were completely closed. Anyway, with a pause, back to see their main wines from 2019:
Frédéric on 2020:
“2020 was a big sortie of grapes though we lost a lot in the end due to the heat – we also had to wait a long time for the maturity though – there were some similarities in 2019 – waiting for the maturity for instance – the altitudes and exposure exacerbating the differences. ”
Frédéric on 2019:
“The frost that did the damage was the first wave in April and later there was even a little hail – for instance, Moulin à Vent. Some domaines will be jealous of their neighbours – it’s the same in the Mâconnais – some domaines are really ravaged. The last 3 weeks have been quite cold so we aren’t looking at an August harvest like we were – but everything moves – it’s dry though, that’s for sure. The frost affected mainly the early opening vines towards to bottom of the slopes – a classic Spring frost – it was -3 to -4°C there, all the chardonnay was impacted to a greater or lesser extent. In the Beaujolais crus, we have lost some Moulin à Vent and some Fleurie too – but again, always the bottom of the slopes. But 2019 is another interesting year, more heterogeneous than in 2020… There were large differences in the rendements depending on the locations – Julienas and St.Amour were very balanced as they have, generally, plenty of soil so had less water stress – Côte de Brouilly and Brouilly it depended more on how much rain they had! So waiting and the amount of grapes on the vines were the most important factors. It’s more about tasting the grapes today than walking around the vineyards with a refractometer – because today you can have the sugar but without the grapes being properly ripe.”
As befits such a great vintage (in my opinion) in Beaujolais, there are many great reds that are worth a special search from this serious producer. The selection of whites was shorter and a little less engaging this vintage – though at least one of them is worth squirrelling away for the future…
A selection of the crus with Loron’s own vineyards or operations.
2019 Château de la Pierre, Réginié
A domaine bought in the 1990s, there’s also Brouilly (tasted below) in this domaine.
Deeply coloured but here is an open and attractive nose; powerful but clean, open and attractive. Mouth-filling, muscular and mouth-watering at the same time. Finishing mineral and a little graphite – give this a year or two to open out but it’s clean, concentrated and delicious. 2019 is the best vintage, on average, that I ever tasted in Régnié!
2019 Château de la Pierre Régnié Pur Gamay A no sulfur wine
Have been making this cuvée since 2009 – quite an early adopter here.
Starting with plenty of reduction – carafe this wine – freshening slowly in the glass even suggesting a little florality. Wide over the palate – quite silky too – supple red fruit with a finely growing intensity in the finishing flavours. That’s really lovely in the finish – a fine sans-souffre…
2019 Château de la Pierre, Brouilly
Very different soil – lots of blue-stone here. In 2020 there’s a parcel selection from here too – ‘for us it’s something of a 1er cru here – it’s about the soil, not the age of the vines.’
Vibrant, floral but concentrated too. A little more direct, sweeping lines of freshness and mouth-watering fruit. A small base of grainless tannin – airy but at the same time showing a little structural side – finishing in fine fashion – excellent wine – wait a year or two.
Concentrated and wide, here with a little extra floral perfume. Airy, fresh, cool-fruited and certainly with a certain elegance yet at the same time a vibrancy to this width of elegant flavour. That’s a beautiful wine – bravo.
A very different label that resembles the ‘reserve caveau’ range from here.
The nose is a little pyrazine in style. Super shape in the mouth, more structural, a more impressive width of finishing flavour too – that’s a great finish but a wine with plenty of pyrazine – so not my personal favourite, so I’ll take the ‘regular’ cuvée. 90% of people are not sensitive to the pyrazine – for them, this is another great Fleurie.
Ooh – that’s a great nose – the aroma of amour! Floral but not facile, deep and rewarding. Mouth-filling, cool-fruited, beautifully textured – not lacking structure. Persistent. Great wine – bravo – perhaps one of the very best I’ve tasted from here!
2019 Domaine de la Vieille Eglise, Juliénas
A mix of clay and blue stone.
Wow – deeply coloured – like a 2018. A vertical nose, not so wide, but oh-so deep – faintly spiced too. Mouth-filling, a small grain of ripe tannin – practically no dryness here – structural but then a wine that takes a leap forward with extra mouth-watering width in the finish. Hiding a lot of potential today, but that’s a super wine.
2019 Domaine de la Vieille Eglise, Juliénas Clos des Poulettes
Again with the label that reflects the reserve-caveau range.
Deep, vibrantly aromatic, graphite minerality in the depth – there’s a tightness but this is still a super nose. Extra-wide, super deep, growing in intensity, chewy finishing – a cooler styled wine than the previous and so very long too – a super texture that suggests a faint finishing tannin. Excellent wine again…
Mid-slope MaV, predominantly foudre elevage.
Ooh, that’s a beautiful nose – the florals resemble the St.Amour but the depth is a different style. Ultra-fine texture – a few millimetres of cushioning. There’s sophistication here and length too – a palate-staining finish – almost a creamy suggestion to the fruit. Bravo!
Vinified at Bellevue, again the label in the reserve caveau style – but nicer.
A nose that blends a serious side – depth and concentration – with a more attractive side – the flowers, almost wild rose. Large-scaled, concentrated yet open and balanced – a wine for keeping as long as you want – but accessible. A great wine but I’d certainly drink others here in preference – today!
69 is the department – I had to ask! The ‘rift’ is the fault that separates Beaujolais and Mâconnais. Another wine without added sulfur – more southern vines in Beaujolais after the crus.
Vibrant, floral a hint of cream – a nose that just keeps getting better and better. Supple, some freshness but here is a basket of fruit, slowly mouth-watering – almost juicy. A vibrancy of finishing flavour too – such a friendly wine. Bravo. Compared to the Regnie without sulfur, this is wider and more plush – more accommodating.
The Pouilly is still sealed with cork, the rest are now with DIAM:
2019 Rift 71
A white without added sulfur, the second vintage from Macon-Chardonnay. ‘We only have the lees as antioxidants in white – it’s not easy.’
The nose is a little appley – but deep and attractive. Wide, fresh, mouth-watering, again apply indeed a quince style too in the flavours – it’s very tasty, indeed delicious, but more of a cider without bubbles than a wine of The Mâconnais…
2019 Jean Loron, Viré-Clessé Vieilles-Vignes
A selection of old vines, also a large cuvée of more than 10 hectares – mainly from Clessé. This appellation just 23 years old now.
A depth to this nose, a nicely textured impression, ripe fruit at the base – tighter and faintly spiced above. Incisive – lovely freshness, a slightly musky, muscaté style to the round flavours, slightly accented towards greener fruit. I like the freshness, the flavour profile is fine enough but I’m not looking for a second glass.
2019 Jean Loron, Saint Véran Les Ombrelles
Ombrelles – A brand rather than a place. Historically elevage only with tank elevage but now ‘a small amount of the total’ sees barrel too.
A nose that needs a little coaxing from the glass – but with time it’s there – more lime fruit in style and here’s a super clarity of aroma. Plenty of volume, lovely texture and plenty of weight to this wine. It could be even better with a touch more acidity, but the combination of texture and flavour is still mouth-wateringly delicious – quite mineral, but delicious – and you can easily see the extra finishing length here.
More complexity and vibrance to this aroma – clearly more barrel too – because of that I prefer the nose of the St.Véran today – but this is a wine that’s more about the future. Wide, saline, concentrated, and certainly mineral. The finish is subtle but very persistent. The oak is an ever-present but here’s a wine that’s rather complete – and having tasted older vintages I know that the oak fades into the background – you should give this wine at least 3 years in the cellar – or I would anyway – though a shame it’s sealed with cork. Excellent wine, with the potential for great.