Tasted in the Chateau de la Terrière with Grégory Barbet and Frederic Maignet, 19 May 2016.
Château de la Terrière
Tel: +33 4 74 66 77 89
I find the back-story to this visit a little amusing; Whilst I’m full of thanks to Maison Jean Loron for showing me the greatness of what can be found in the Beaujolais region, the fact that I had visited them, their Château de Fleurie and also their Château de Bellevue in Morgon, meant that I was really reluctant to visit yet another of their properties – I didn’t want it to seem that my report should wear a ‘sponsored by Loron’ badge. Yet from my blind tasting, two wines from Terrière were so outstanding that in the end, I have no embarrassment about also including this associated-Loron property. I say associated, because this property is owned by the Barbet family, but separate from Loron. The estate is part of the vignerons independants association and they distribute their wine direct to restaurants and wine stores. Frederic Maignet is the winemaker here, overseeing all the technical operations. Grégory Barbet has an administration and sales role.
The Château de la Terrière has been noted in Cercié since the 13th century – the buildings actually sitting below Côte de Brouilly and facing the Mont Brouilly. The château and the domaine had the same owners until 2002 when those owners decided to sell the domaine – but they remain as occupiers of the rather beautiful, if large, château. The domaine has almost 29 hectares of vines, including 4 hectares of Beaujolais-Villages, 13 hectares of Brouilly in just one block, 3 hectares of Còteaux Bourguignon (Pinot Noir) on pierre dorée, 1.5 hectares in Fleurie, 3.3 hectares of Moulin-à-Vent, and finally 4 hectares of Régnie which are very close to the 13 of Brouilly.
The domaine’s vines are mainly goblet-trained with 10,000 vines per hectare – old vines too. Grégory explains that they are looking to modify the pruning to allow more efficient working of the soil.
The cuverie mixes cement, foudres, barrels and stainless-steel tanks for the grapes, delivered in 400kg cases. Grills are used in the tanks here to stop the cap from rising to the surface – whether destemmed or whole cluster. There is remontage but no pigeage – the fermentation being more semi-carbonic but with a longer cuvaison. All the cuvées here have very low use of sulfur, some cuvées see their very first sulfur only before bottling – “We want to see the purity of our original gamay – and we have been working like this since 2009.”
2014 Beaujolais Villages
Old vines with a parcel selection in the area of Régnie.
Wide and high-toned aromas, a growing width of red fruit too. Fills the mouth well, a little tannic texture but also with nice complexity over the palate. A good burst of finishing flavour too. Serious tasty wine!
2013 Beaujolais Villages
A shade paler, and a slightly warmer red fruit character. Fresher, more direct flavour, less, direct tannin but there’s still a base of it, a little finer grained. More floral in the finish – a very, very tasty finish…
Classic BJ vinifications for the last two. The next two are held back a year in bottle before commercialising:
2014 Régnie Cuvée Nature
Very deep colour. Some aromatic depth of dark fruit, slightly tight. Wide, fresh and with fine intensity. A little tannin at the base, but nice energy and flavour dimension here – it’s a floral-inflected flavour – very tasty! Lovely finish…
Also very deep colour. Another slightly tight nose of pretty, and faintly floral red fruit. Silky in attack, a slowly growing tannin in the bass-line. Really a fine dimension of floral fruit – excellent – I’m really loving this flavour. Yum!
Same parcel, same vinification for all the next wines:
Jules was the lord here in the 19th century (plus another Château!)
A very pretty red-fruited nose – not super open but nice. Beautiful texture, a little padded, wide and complex – a cosseting, comforting wine, this is super… Excellent!
2011 Brouilly cuvée Jules de Souzy
This is actually the current vintage for sale…
Fresher, with a more obvious oak signature of vanilla. Fresher, lithe, wide a growing complexity of flavour but for me mainly of vanilla – not my favourite for sure. A bigger, indeed more massive wine, but to wait for.
2008 Brouilly cuvée Jules de Souzy
Already an obvious colour change. Pretty, truffly, already showing plenty of mature aromatic complexity. A nice fresh line, a little pinched with a more obvious dry edge to the tannin but complex, and alive. I currently like this much more than the 11.
2006 Brouilly cuvée Jules de Souzy
Fresh, some maturity but the core of fruit is actually still rather young. Fresh, direct, vibrant very faintly dry – seems like a different wine. There’s growing intensity in the finish which is rather nice, but it really is different in character to the last wines
Deep, considered, nicely fresh if just a little tight. Nice texture, weight and depth of concentration, a super width of flavour that’s becoming more complex but also a little floral. This is becoming a classic wine for aged gamay – really great aged gamay. The tannin is still alive too. Really great persistence of finish too… Still young!
2003 Brouilly cuvée Jules de Souzy
A little less colour, developed colour. I’m surprised by the open, floral and quite fresh nose – big and round, actually a very tasty wine, deeply flavoured, atypical but really a tasty wine, just suggesting a little Marsala in the mid-palate complexity, together with flowers and caramel – really fun.