Tasted in Lantignié with Annick & Jean-Marc Lafont, 13 April 2016.
Domaine de Bel Air
Tel: +33 4 74 04 82 08
Domaine de Bel-Air sits high on a hillside overlooking Beaujeu. The vineyards are on the south-facing slopes of Bel Air, here the soil is mainly made-up of a blue granite. The domaine works close to 24 hectares, set since 1840 in a tiny hamlet that was once housed two domaines – the Lafonts rented the second domaine, so now have cuvées in most of the crus.
Jean-Marc took on the domaine from his father in 1986 and has been working the vines ‘lutte raisonée’ for at least 20 years – he’s even thinking about converting some parcels to biodynamics. 40-60% destemming is the approach her, depending on the vintage and the particular parcel.
The domaine managed to produce about 30-40 hl/ha in 2015. Jean-Marc notes that “2015 has a special ripeness of tannin with acidity. The best vintage of my career, though definitely not an easy vintage.”
About 150,000 bottles per year are produced here, including a little négoce for St.Veran, Pouilly-Fuissé and Chiroubles…
I liked the wines very much here!
The 2014 sold out, and this is not long in bottle – just 2 weeks. South facing vines in Belair with about 20% from an opposing hill. about 5 hectares worth…
Dark colour, a deep and involving gamay nose – there is sunshine in this. Caressing and cushioning at the same time with a lovely base that is modestly structured, faintly saline edged. Lots of depth of flavour here. Special quality for the label. This costs only about 6.60 euros – I think the value is at least 3x and I expect there is very little profit here when sold to professionals – this is a shame…
From tank – the cuvée classic of the domaine, no oak used. In the south on a soil in an area called brilliant, more charming than mineral, usually lower acidity and rounder.
Deep, round, dark fruited but with fine clarity. Round, beautifully mouth-filling a really fine line of flavour super depth of flavour and length – really top wine!
Here on pink granite, with quite high vines – 387m
Super colour, maybe a hint lighter than the Brouilly. Here is a nose that goes deep, less overt but clean and pure – not macerating. Here is a hint of gas, but not quite fizzy. There is a width of fresh fruit and like the Brouilly it has some layers of flavour. More open, less layered but with a fine finishing impression. A little more mineral in the finish… Will be super wine, probably more elegant but today showing less dimension than the Brouilly.
A really good terroir the closest to here in Morgon. A small part also in barrel – 5-10%, depending on the vintage.
Deep coloured. Deep, with brilliant flashes of dark fruit – yes! Mouth-filling but with fresh, fine flavour, wide and alive, a hint of structure but a wine that’s more about the waves of flavour. Top wine…!
2015 Moulin à Vent Les Burdelines
One part in barrel.
Here the aromas, while deep, are a little more muted, very faintly spiced but tight vs what has gone before. Round and really nice in the mouth, good layers of flavour, but also like the nose a little less excitement and involvement. Yet the finishing flavours are super and here is a hint of tannin… This probably won’t be bottled for a year…
2014s, but the BJ Villages is all gone:
Here is a more modest colour. The nose has depth, much redder fruit and fine aromatic clarity. Lithe, caressing and intense – beautiful pure wine with a hint of minerality in the mid-palate but fresh and engaging. I like this very much indeed – even after tasting 15s!
2014 Fleurie Les Granits Rose
A deeper nose, almost a little mushroom – sometimes mineral, sometimes pyrazine I think, yet there are also flashes of beautiful dark fruit – Jekyll and Hyde. Wide, beautifully textured, a fine grain of salt. This is very fine in the mouth and without pyrazine references – indeed really super in the mouth!
2014 Morgon Les Charmes
A large-scaled nose – a fresh component – more fruity and a lovely depth. Lovely layers of flavour, a hint of tannin but captivating all the same – excellent! Fresh finishing with a hint of structure and mineral references.
2014 Moulin a Vent Burdelines
Just a little more modest in colour. A deep, more muted, faintly saline nose, very slowly adding a more exciting floral dimension. Lovely in the mouth, wide, and spicy palate that reminds me of Vosne. Extra freshness in the mid-palate to finish. And good length. I love the palate despite being a little less interested by the aromatic.
The previous bottles of 2014 were indeed bottled. The next two were not – they will spend about 1 year in 1-2 year-old barrels.
2014 Morgon Via Romana
Jean-Marc is worried about the oak. Me not! Vines recovered in 2011, next to an old roman road in charmes – roughly 70-year-old vines.
There’s a very nice complexity here – some oak spice but it’s subtle and is mixed with a pretty floral aromatic. Beautiful in the mouth, some tannic texture, but it’s complex and multi-dimensional. This is actually very tasty today but will I expect it will grow and grow in flavour delivery.
2014 Moulin à Vent Granit et Manganèse
From the sector of Burdelines, with some 70 year-old vines and the elevage is in the same ‘esprit’ as the Morgon.
A family MAV nose here, less expressive, faintly salty, and no pyrazine. In the mouth this is very mineral, layered flavour, complex and with a freshness to the complexity. Wide and interesting, but behind the previous wine for my taste.
2013 Moulin à Vent Granit et Manganèse
The current vintage commercialised. A late harvest more than 3 weeks later than usual.
Here is a very forward nose of vanilla oak. – almost reminds of a young Pouilly-Fuissé – which of-course loses that note after 2-3 years. But surprisingly there is an open freshness that is not present in the previous MAVs. In the mouth this is really super – complex, fine energy – it tastes great – fine and complex with a hint of oak in the finish here too, but a tasty, sweetly complex wine. I wouldn’t drink this today because of that obvious oak, but it ought to be super in another 2-3 years…
Not made in 13 or 14, from 80 year-old vines.
Here is top note of spice, fresh spice – I assume from oak but it’s very pleasant. Below is a depth of darker fruit. Beautiful texture, beautiful complexity and energy. Super wine – really a triumph! Such a complex wine!
In 2008 a previous worker here, who had worked in Switzerland on the hillsides there, had a presentation about global warming and about how the cepages of the south would slowly move north over the next 30+ years – so possibly St.Joseph in Beaujolais – both are on granite. Jean-Marc ended up planting syrah and viognier in 2009 and here is an example from 2012. ‘Its a hobby!’
2012 Vin de Table Les Serines
A slightly muted, deep nose. Nicely fresh, some cushioning, lovely length – fine tasty wine. I like this very much despite the muted nose it tastes great!