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Domaine de la Madone – Le Perréon

DSC00108Tasted in Perréon with Bruno Bérerd, 20 April 2016.

Domaine de la Madone – Le Perréon
Le Bourg
69460 Le Perréon
Tel: +33 4 74 03 21 85

It’s important to add the ‘Le Perréon’ to the name of this domaine, as there’s also a Domaine de la Madone in Fleurie. Le Perréon is a hilly (and steep!) vineyard area in the south of Beaujolais, classified as Beaujolais Villages. It is three brothers who currently tend the domaine, Bruno Bérerd was my guide.

Bruno explains “The best vineyards of La Perréon are steep and on granite – actually it’s all granite here! The bottom of the valley is more sunny, bringing softer, fruitier wines, though with more tannin too. The stonier vineyards above bring more spice and a crispiness to the tannins. We make Nouveau from vines in the bottom of the slopes, our other cuvées from above.”

Bruno says that 10% of their vineyards are now farmed organically – they started this process in 2009, and their main problem is ‘fighting against the grass’ – “We try new ideas each year. It was hard in 2015 because the grass brought too much competition with the vines, given the dryness. Our oldest vines were planted in 1941, the youngest in 2008 – we have 28 hectares today, including two of white on north facing slopes. During harvesting, we pick 1-2 weeks later than most of our neighbours, helped by trellising the vines up to 1.6 metres high. We are always looking for more complexity, but with balance.”

We did a short ‘mountain tour’ in Bruno’s Land Rover; Perréon is an assembly of many steep hillsides – the vineyard of Madone here is very like that in Fleurie, with a small copy of the cave in Lourdes, rather than a chapel. But here is also the sad face of the current Beaujolais market in full view; 60% of the vines on one steep hillside I saw are lost or abandoned. It’s not about the quality of the wines they produced, rather it underlines the amount of hard work required to cultivate, for so little return – the retired owners simply can’t find new tenants…

And Beaujolais Le Perréon? – It’s allowed to add the village’s name on the label not just to write Beaujolais Villages.

The wines…

Bruno explains that “all our wines are destemmed – we are influenced by Burgundy – that’s no secret. We think we lose a little fresh fruit but we gain better tannins and complexity.”

2015 Beaujolais Le Perréon Tradition
A modest intensity aromatic but with lots of depth. Great texture, lots of fruit intensity. A fresh and concentrated wine with plenty of flavour. Only modest tannin texture. Very good! Nice finish here – it lasts and lasts in the finish…

2013 Beaujolais Le Perréon
With bio labels
Deep aromas due to a little reduction. Ooh – lovely intensity of fruit – fresh, waves of mouth-watering flavour. This is excellent. I love!

2014 Beaujolais Le Perréon Fut de Chene
Here with 20% new oak.
The nose is a little too much on the vanilla side at the moment – ‘I’m not a big fan for the first five years, but at 10 it’s really alive and the wood seems to give the wine more freshness’ confides Bruno. Big in the mouth. Round, fine textured but rather too sweet, accented by the wood. Today at least, not my style – yet the freshness and mouth-watering sucrosity are to be commended.

2010 Beaujolais Le Perréon Fut de Chene
A little spiciness of oak, but the vast majority of vanilla has now faded. Wide, sweet, a little more tannin, a good burst of flavour in the mid-palate. Nicely finishing. A nicer drink for me than the 14, but still not worth a special search.

1999 Beaujolais Le Perréon Fut de Chene
Deep, fresh, vibrant, a faint oxidation. It sits nicely on the palate, growing in intensity, a little sweet but alive and with a fine acidity. A great waterfall of flavour in the finish – and a super finish it is. I think they make better wine today – here is a similar freshness to above but with a little more attack from the structure. A great drink though.

1995 Beaujolais Le Perréon Fut de Chene
Clearly an older colour. Lots of oxidative aging without actually being oxidised. Supple, almost silky tannin – very fine fruit with a fine line of acidity. Complex, direct and saline finishing – among many attributes. Certainly I would drink this up – but with relish!

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