Guy Breton – 2018

Update 24.3.2022(30.7.2020)billn

Tasted with Jessie Ponsinet in Villié-Morgon 16 June 2020.

Domaine Guy Breton
252 Rue Pasteur
69910 Villié-Morgon
Tel: +33 4 74 69 12 67
Other reports with Guy Breton

Having drunk multiple bottles – though not on the same day – of Guy’s Marylou cuvée, all in the restaurant ‘des Truges,’ I decided it was time to learn a little more. Guy was enjoying the sunshine on his tractor when I visited, but Jessie was very happy to explain about the domaine and open up some bottles for me.

Missing a generation, Guy took on this family domaine from his grandfather, in 1988-89, though the domaine existed already for more than 50 years. For a time the domaine had been selling its fruit to others, but given that Guy was friendly with winemakers such as Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thévenet and Jean Foillard, he decided to take it in a different direction. That entailed organic farming and minimal intervention in the cuverie, though retaining the approach of carbonic maceration to make the wines. In the process, with these three other vignerons, he became what Kermit Lynch described as one of the ‘Gang of Four.’ More than 80% of the wine produced here is exported and Kermit remains the big importer into the US.

This is not a large domaine – about 4 hectares, mostly around Morgon – but the volumes are augmented with wines from (seemingly) very well-chosen suppliers with whom Guy works very closely. Jessie explains that “All the fruit gets cooled to 5-6 degrees before passing the whole bunches into the fermentation tanks. All the wines are made in the same way, carbonic, no added yeast or sulfur except just a little before bottling – and with no filtration.

And because the question is often asked; Guy’s friends all call him Petit-Max – and that’s because Guy’s father was called Max, not because Guy is small!

The wines…

Guy generally makes wines that are lighter in colour, though certainly not light in flavour. In 2018 you can see more depth to the colours – yet there remains a consistency of style here – even when there is more or less concentration – but they are wines that remain open and accessible. Delicious wines too, some worth a special search!

The first bottling of 2019s came at the end of February, some more in the second half of March too. the Fleurie and the Morgon VV will be done in the next few days. Jessie noted that they were very happy with wines in 2018 – not just the material but the quantity too.

2019 Beaujolais Villages Marylou
The cuvée named after Guy’s daughter. Vines at quite some altitude, from Saint Joseph and Grand Cras. This is the only wine with no oak in its elevage, but the barrels are usually 2-3 years old. Here all concrete.
A modest depth of colour – a little earth but aeration brings more and more openness to the style. This is open, easy, fresh but a wine with energy and also a wine with a growing intensity of flavour – almost dried fruit. Some finishing bitters – lip-smacking flavour, quite floral finishing – wait a little while but this will be fine drink.

2019 Regnié
4-6 months of barrel elevage here. Vines at 400-450m not far from Truges.
Hmm, more floral just a little more round – that’s a very attractive nose. Hmm. Wide, fresh intense, this is super – I love the incisive energy, a caress of tannin, lingering excellently, just a little less serious than the Marylou today despite a little more concentration. It’s excellent.

2018 Chiroubles Cuvée Lea
Named for the daughter of Marylou, Guy’s granddaughter. Bought grapes from a vigneron in Chiroubles who works organically – in Javernand – Guy works with the vigneron in the vines too.
Earthy, fresh, a little spiced. Hmm, more depth of higher-toned fruit. Wider with an intensity of fresh fruit. Less round than the Regnié but with delicious detail. Excellent again.

2018 Morgon Vieilles-Vignes
Multiple parcels, high vines near Charmes/Truges.
Here the nose is a little tighter, but air brings a fine floral perfume. Fresh, driving, cliché Morgon. There is steel here, but also a mouth-watering flavour with a juicy aspect. Really a weight of finishing flavour – love this – it’s a baby though. All these wines despite their openness have a serious side today – more mineral than tannic – yet remain delicious. Yum!

2018 Côte de Brouilly
Second contract wine – shared with JC Lapalu.
The most vibrant of these wines, aromatically. Hmm – a big wave of fresh flavour, edged with salinity – a very different character, almost a little smokiness in the red-fruited middle flavours too. Bravo.
2018 Morgon Petit Max
From vines in Les Charmes of 100-120 years old – and not made every year. One year in barrel for the elevage. The Morgon VV was from ‘only’ 80-year-old vines.
Still not a very deep colour. Depth, a growing floral – a nose that holds my attention – certainly no oak. Hmm, really and extra depth, layered wine here, floral, fruited – this is seriously great wine – the depth of flavour is really super. Worth a little search!

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