Cave Azé – 2013

Update 1.6.2015(31.5.2015)billn

DSC06526Tasted in Azé with Dany Grandjean, 22nd April 2015.

Cave d’Azé
En Tarroux
71260 Azé
Tel: +33 3 85 33 30 92+33 3 85 33 30 92

The co-operative began here in 1927 – Jules Richard was the founder – before that the négoce were much more important in the Mâconnais, it was in the 1970s they moved away from being mixed farms to concentrating on vines.

Today the co-operative is responsible for 18,000 hectolitres/260 hectares of vines – the produce of 73 producers. For all that wine, just 7 people are employed by the coop, including the two that work in the shop (retail opportunity!). There’s a little gamay and pinot produced here, but it’s 70% white that’s bottled, with some aligote included in that. The producers are regulated (paid!) by the degree of potential alcohol that they deliver.

The cuverie is a mix of concrete and stainless-steel tanks plus some older concrete tanks that are currently being restored – though now with stainless-steel interiors – tanks of 30,000 litre capacity. All the tanks thermo-regulated. The massive presses can take 150 hl of grapes/juice – though later I also saw one of 300 hl! Given the price-points and volumes here, it’s no surprise that virtually all of the harvest is made by machine – except of-course the Crémant (for those that don’t know, the Crémant AOC does not allow machine harvesting – would that all the grand crus should follow suite!). The reds have a ‘small’ cold maceration, and all are destemmed – this part of the cuverie was installed in 1985.

The barrel cellar, built in 2006, has both red and whites – about 250 barrels – classic 228 litres. Also dating from 2006 is the stock warehouse.

This co-operative commercialises about 400,000 bottles per year, of-which about 25% are sold through the shop, plus through a healthy export market. There are Cremants here too, but they are made for the Co-op by Veuve Ambal and Louis Bouillot. As a benchmark, the co-op’s ‘prestige’ cuvée of Mâcon-Azé costs only 7.25 Euros from the shop, and sees about 10% of barrel elevage…

The wines…

I asked Dany if he could say a few words on the 2013 vintage – I really only got volumes!: “The 2013 vintage was better than 2012 which was about 12% down on volume – 2013 was more like 5 or 6% down. 2014 was correct…”

2013 Mâcon-Azé
Got a distinction in the 2014 blind tasting.
Fresh, a little sweet, with some herbs – quite interesting, it develops a little pear-drops note. Fresh, lithe, a little mineral and floral too. The intensity comes in the finish when its more herb-laden. Tasty enough though…

2013 Mâcon-Azé Cuvée Jules Richard
A deeper aromatic, no barrels here though. Much more interesting in the mouth with mouth-watering faintly sweet flavours. This tastes great with a little minerality and salinity and a fine length of flavour. For 6 euros it’s a steal!

2013 Mâcon-Peronne
This is much more on limestone, in theory much more mineral.
Freshness on the nose, modesty but nicely fresh. Good attack on the tongue with a growing intensity. This is tasty enough, though the mid-palate is not so exciting, yet the finishing flavours are very good – nicely mineral and long.

2013 Mâcon-Azé Selection Prestige
A parcel selection – but always the same parcels. Wirth 10% barrel elevage.
A little more aromatic intensity of top-notes. Silky, intense with a growing mid-palate flavour that’s just a little saline and mineral. Finishes with a nice mouth-watering and weighty mineral note – tasty wine….

2012 Bourgogne Blanc
Takes the label because there’s some barrel elevage and also a mix of a couple of Mâcon villages.
An obvious oak note but it marries quite well with the sweetness of fruit. Fresh, direct and mineral. Lots of mid-palate complexity and good flavour. I’d wait for the oak to subside more – maybe another year or two, but this is much more interesting than the label might lead you to believe…

2012 Mâcon-Azé Cuvée Acacia
Different oak used here.
Fresh and very pretty – the oak is very discreet here. Lovely floral notes. Fresh, lovely attack, some minerality, sweetness. I like this very much already today. Lovely wine.

Les Rouges…

2013 Mâcon-Azé Rouge
Large aroma, just a little spicy, the acidity is quite forward, even after the whites, this finish is quite attractive though – mouth-watering and with nice herbs and some sweetness.

2013 Mâcon-Azé Rouge
This with some barrel elevage.
A very pretty nose of flowers and fruit – much more interesting than the 2012. Rounder with fine freshness and a good lingering weight of flavour – only here showing some oak notes. Actually this is pretty good! Price is only 1.2 euros more and it’s not a parcel selection – the difference is worth much more than that – this is just 6.40 euros…

2013 Bourgogne Rouge
Modest but quite a pinot nose. Round, some tannin but this is balanced enough. A little salty minerality too. The finish is less modest and quite tasty. A wine with no issues and certainly tastier than some of the big volume wines from the Beaune négoce. A bargain!

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