tasted high up in the Clos de Haute-Combe with Vincent Audras, 20 May 2016.
Clos de Haute-Combe
Tel: +33 4 74 04 41 09
There are great views here from the Clos de Haute-Combe, and you really are high on the hillside looking down across the vines of Juliénas. Here we are on Beaujolais’ border with Burgundy and the Saone et Loire départment. Actually, here at the very north of Juliénas, the hail that hurt so much of the Mâconnais was also felt here too – “We lost 80% of the buds here – the south and south-west facing vines have been impacted by something every year since 2008. Nature can be a severe master” says Vincent.
The domaine of the family Audras has been here since 1835, their vaulted cellar dates from the end of 1800s, and is utilised for the 13 hectares that, today, Vincent Audras exploits; 10 hectares of vines around the house (in haute-combe), only Juliénas in the crus, some Bourgogne Blanc, some Beaujolais Villages and now also Viognier and Gamaret.
The hillside vines behind the house are now treated by helicopter – it became too dangerous with a tractor – you can see the ruined tractor from its last ‘roll!’ In this place Vincent is also conducting an official test with lyre training – a 20 yea study – “There’s less need for herbicide, less erosion and it’s easier to manage, but with virtually the same ripening time as the goblet-trained vines – I also less rot because of the higher training, so can wait longer to harvest if I wish.” Wine made from these vines remains classed as Vin de France for the moment. Vincent also has some chardonnay vines, but in Juliénas there’s no declassification to Beaujolais in its AOC so this is called Bourgogne Blanc.
I find Vincent a very serious winemaker – a great address for some tasty wines – though with a little too much pyrazine for my palate in some of the 2014s…
2014 Variation de Gamay ‘Verigoude!’
Vin de france from the lyre-trained gamay on the hill behind the house, dominant blue rock here.
A nose that slowly opens – growing a little pyrazine aided freshness. Bright, fresh personality, a hint too much pyrazine for me but this has a fine complexity and open, fresh nature. The finish is almost in direction of peanuts…
2014 Juliénas Cuvée Traditional
Label signed by grand mother – I love this old style of label. An assembly of all the parcels around the house from 5-6 year-old to 80 year-old vines. No thermo-vinification, no yeast, with occasional destemming if required.
A deeper nose still a hint of pyrazine, but more fruit and flowers here. A little tannin but essentially a bright and complex wine – with lots of energy. Faint pyrazine in the finish too. But this is very tasty indeed!
Half a hectare
A really beautiful nose of fruit and flowers. Round and really intense. Round in the mouth too, lots of flavour complexity – some tannin still. This is really excellent!
2014 Juliénas Cuvée Prestige
Simply a selection of old vine parcels. 10 months elevage in barrels of 4-5 years old.
A bright nose, deep concentrated dark and tight fruit below. Round but fresh, some vanilla below but really on a modest level, adding sweetness to the freshness of the wine. An accent of wood only – really good!
2010 Juliénas Cuvée Selection
From the end of the pressing, made 2 barrels, 5 years in barrel with its lees and very little sulfur.
Quite deep colour. Sweet, complex, like a dessert, certainly some vanilla below. Lovely texture, creamy – not just the texture, the flavour too – a faint Marsala style oxidation that I have to say is very attractive despite the vanilla in the flavour. “We certainly mount in concentration, but I don’t say in quality” smiles my host!
This cepage arrived in France in 2008. After all the testing required in the nurseries it is actually now allowed for Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages, but not in the Crus. Allowed at up to 10% of the total grapes that is…
A vibrant nose, of dark fruit. Sweet fruit, wide and fresh with lots of interest and slowly changing complexity of flavour. Almost an impression of brûlée in the finish, a little sweetness with fine tannin in that finish. This is a really tasty wine – lots to enjoy – yum!