2016+2015(+) Almost 50 Saint Amours – tasted blind…


48 wines, tucked up in their little jackets and tasted blind on 06 July 2017 in Villefranche…

Together with Julienas, St.Amour is the most northerly of the Beaujolais Crus – tread a few metres more to the north and you are in the Mâconnais. I chose this tasting as a route to finding (blind) domaines that I would like to visit an learn a little more about – domaines that you will find elsewhere in this report.

The 2016s…

20 wines, only the first is a tank sample, all the rest are already in bottle.

Maison Trenel
Here is the only tank sample.
Bright, pretty fruit – it’s not a forceful aromatic but it’s clean and even a little delicate. Fine in the mouth. Like the nose, this isn’t a wine of power, but it has a nice width, a faint tannin and nicely delineated flavor with just a hint of salinity. I like the little rigour in the finish. Not a big wine, but a delicious one.

Georges Dubeouf
More depth and more dimension of aroma – if a little less open. Good volume in the mouth, here the flavor is very fine, modestly textured with dry tannin, good intensity and absolutely delicious flavor – beautiful finishing too. Excellent and long! Bravo.

Terres Dorées Jean-Paul Brun
Just a hint less colour. The nose is a little higher-toned with a more red-currant style of fruit. More direct and fresh, still with a decent tannin and a growing intensity of red fruit. There are good waves of flavour here with a little finishing bitters. Good wine though less instantly likeable than the last – just have some patience.

Clos du Fief, Les Capitains
A heavy bottle – and there’s a deep colour to match. Inky-deep nose, with a mineral/graphite impression and just a faint pyrazine florality. Really big in the mouth – it’s hard to contain! Yet despite its size, it seems that all is in proportion here – a modest lick of fine tannin, good darker fruit flavor, a hint of salinity. Very big, very impressive wine – and with super length – but definitely for the cellar – bravo.
Domaine du Breuil
Also quite a deep colour. The nose is tighter, a little coffee-bean but really very little more on offer. A wine with a little more structure – the tannin is fine and hardly astringent – the acidity and shape of the wine is a little more obvious but still balanced with a good depth of fruit. Nice wine, more structural and with a growing interest in the flavor. Slightly different but really a wine that is growing on me. Lovely and again with a great finish!

Dominique Piron
Hmm – a more overtly floral aspect the nose – yet certainly not the most overt nose. Good volume, nice freshness, there is concentration here, yet the texture is so smooth that there almost seems an absence of tannin versus many other 2016s. A layered finish – this is very good yet today with a little less flavor dimension – it’s more about (excellent) shape and texture today.

Domaine des Vignes du Paradis
Here the nose implies a little gas, it seems a little generic Beaujolais. No gas. Actually in the mouth this is the most fruit-forward wine so-far, layers of attractive flavour, indeed delicious Beaujolais flavor, but is it St.Amour? A nice wine but in this line-up, so-far, it seems out-of-place.

Domaine du Moulin Berger
A deep nose but a tight nose – another that offers a little coffee-bean though little else. In the mouth there’s good volume and shape, a wine that grows and grows, with a good halo of fine tannin. The fruit flavour is really rather buried but the finish is long and a little saline. Potentially a very good wine but also a wine to wait for…

Jacques Charlet La Victorine
A relatively tight nose – just faintest whiff of furry fruit. A nicely fresh wine, with super width over the palate. A little more mineral than many, with slowly leaching fruit flavour. I very-much like the complexity on show here. Despite the concentration this is a wine of much subtlety and I find it very good!

Château de Saint Amour, Georges Duboeuf
There is a dried red fruit character here – it’s quite nice, just a little different. Fresh, tasty red fruit, and a good depth of flavour too, but again this is a little generic Beaujolais-style of wine rather than a St.Amour that I’m looking for… But the finish with a complex blend of fruit and flowers gives me more hope –

11 Dominique Morel
A narrow nose, but a deep one – a pure cordial-style fruit aroma. Fine volume in the mouth, good freshness and a little salinity – the fruit is very discreet but the wine is long and interesting. Actually yum!

Domaine Chardigny Le Clos du Chapitre
More weight of aroma here – a little (sulfur?) hardness above but attractive below. Muscular, concentrated but with fine freshness/energy. A mineral impression – perhaps the sulfur again – but with good layers of flavour. Little waves of finishing flavour too. A baby, but with a lot of potential I think!
Domaine de Gry Sablon Les Tines
A big nose of saline red fruit. Volume in the mouth and really excellent texture – the tannin is very fine but present. Lots of energy here, the fruit style is more Beaujolais than St.Amour but it’s a delicious wine of fine concentration.

Domaine des Billards Heritiers Loron
A tight depth, some aromatic width, showing a hint of sulfur. Good volume and energy here. Initially a little generic but there is a nice, and growing, depth of fruit flavour here. The finish is complex and involving. It needs to shake of the sulfur I think, but it’s getting better and better in the glass.

Pascal Berthier Esprit de Séduction
Ooh – this is a deep nose – slowly adding some floral accents too – super! Good volume, a little tannin, just a little distracting savoury aspect to the fruit, but there are textured layers and layers to this wine – it’s excellent on so many levels – worth the benefit of the doubt I think, particularly given the fine finish.
Château de La Romancière
A nose that whilst open, starts with a little herbal component, but slowly becomes more floral. Good fresh volume, and really delicious fruit, layers of fruit flavour. Bravo – directly delicious wine.

Domaine des Chers Vieilles-Vignes
A deep and dark-red-fruited nose, faint pyrazine to start too. In the mouth this is complex, with a growing tannin. Lots of length here too. Delicious? No not yet but a very good wine which I’m sure will get better…

Domaine Matray
Another nose that is a little tight with an impression of sulfur. This is the first wine that has a little reduction in the flavours – but there is good texture and weight and a really lovely complexity and depth of fruit flavour. This could be excellent, but it needs a little time…

Domaine Chardigny A la Folie
A big, open-armed nose that shows a fine blend of fruit and flowers – yum! This has depth of flavour and a decent volume too. Sustained, fine flavour with a modest tannin – excellent. The finish with a little bitters. Excellent wine.
Domaine du Paradis Georges Duboeuf
Not the widest nose but there is depth and a really fine and attractive blend of flowers and fruit. Really quite a saline flavour that fills the mouth with small complexities. The finish is equally complex and I would say compelling. Bravo!
The 2015s…
Loron et Fils Famille Bardet, Clos des Billards
Deep colour. A wide nose, of aromatic concentration and a certain spice. Fresh energy, really impressive concentration but also with that spice impression from the nose. Really an impressive saline spicy wine, which sustains a very long finish. The fruit is background and darker shaded than the 2016s. Very impressive if baby wine.
Château Bonnet Vieilles-Vignes
A tighter yet more obviously ‘pretty’ nose than the last. Also really large-scaled with a fine fresh energy. The fruit is a little more to the fore, but there is such a bright and bubbly energy here. Even larger as it enters the finish. The 2016s were ‘easier’ but this is still impressive stuff!
Domaine de l’Ancienne Relais, Clos de la Brosse
Rather a tighter nose – a very faint and attractive floral perfume, but you will have to search for it. Again, bright fresh energy, an impression of spice and a growing intensity of flavour. Super finishing. All three of these, so-far, have had a certain spiced minerality…

Domaine des Duc, Les Capitains
All these 15s have a deeper colour.
A faint sulfur and salinity – otherwise tight. Fresh, bright impression, not as big as the previous wines yet equally growing in intensity. Really very intense in the finish – a spicy and mineral impression again. Impressive but at this stage not particularly delicious.

Cave Juliénas Chaintré, Tradition du Bois de la Salle
Another tight nose – a faint violet note. Saline, wide-flavoured, a little less energy, becoming more linear. Here is a little more fruit flavour, but again lacking tastiness – not a wine for current drinking.

Ferraud et Fils
Again quite a tight nose but here at the base there is a blend of interesting fruit and flowers. Very fine texture to the tannin, freshness, floral-inflected flavour. Ooh – this is the first wine that I can describe as delicious but that will also be long-lasting. Really a bravo wine!
Cave Juliénas Chaintré, Réserve des Pierres
Limited width but a fine depth of aroma. Hmm – delicious flavour – complex, accented with tannin, some floral aspects, but with a serious baseline of structure. Concentrated and intense finishing. Just a super wine.

Domaine de l’Ancienne Relais Vieilles-Vignes
A little high-toned blend of saline and floral notes. A spicy, wide, growing concentration. The freshness and intensity are good and really say – ‘wait!’ As noted, wine to wait for, but a very good one.

Domaine du Moulin Berger
A deep nose – one that’s got plenty of reduction attached. The flavours are also very reduced. The shape / volume is good, and the general balance also. The reduction gives this a slightly bitter impression – not for today… there’s some CO2 too on shaking – will re-try after lunch: No reduction after lunch – though a tight nose. Big, fresh, complex. Plenty of structure, plenty of finishing fruit a long line of excellent flavour. Really super!

Domaine de la Pirolette
A wide nose with a little toasty reduction – this seems ‘aromatically silky’ though. Fresh in the mouth, one of the rare 15s with an appreciable fruit flavour on the palate – but it’s really a big, fresh, spicy mouthful of wine – to wait for, but should be worth the wait!

Domaine du Clos de Fief, l’Exception
Some aromatic width above – quite nice – tighter below. Wide, good volume, spicy, growing tannin. This is a big mouthful of pretty-much everything. Plenty of finishing bitters. Potentially super – but again for the cellar.

Henry Fessey
A narrow but deep nose – a few high-toned florals as a topping. Big, so much volume and with a growing intensity too. Spicy fruit, so much concentration but despite not for drinking today, there is an ensemble – a balance – that is not just very tasty, it is compelling. Bravo!
Ferraud et Fils, Cuvée Ensorceleuse
Hmm – a nose of complexity and interest – on of the few 2015s so. Supple, concentrated, luscious flavour – I could see myself drinking this right now! Yet, with intensity and freshness too – there’s a little fat to the texture that makes this wine very attractive – bravo!

Domaine du Paradis, Georges Duboeuf
Not the most overt nose, but with an engaging fruit and floral complexity. Big, fresh and energetic. A growing intensity of flavour, faint bubblegum but also more attractive fruit and floral complexity. Excellent.

Domaine du Moulin Berger, Cuvée Flora
A nose with more than a touch of reduction. Also in the mouth, lots of gas too. Try again after lunch. – it turned out that both the reductive wines were from the same producer.
Also no reduction after lunch. Bright, wide, lots of structure here and still maybe a prickle of CO2. Lots of energy and complexity here – the finish is particularly good.

Domaine du Haut Poncié
A modest intensity nose, faintly saline, perhaps with a short-lasting reductive element. Hmm. In the mouth this is lovely – there’s volume, but there are also waves, layers, of flavour that roll over the palate. Faintly spicy and certain very young, but this is an impressive wine. Yum!
Château de Saint Amour, Georges Duboeuf
Hmm – lovely – a fine fruit and flowers nose – pure too! Supple, wide, and expanding more, super flavour with fruit and very modest contributions from spice and salinity. Delicious fruit flavour that points in style more to the best of the 2016s – Top!

Domaine du Moulin Berger Vieilles-Vignes
Ouch! A deeply vanilla nose! I am anxious of whether I should put it in my mouth… Beautiful texture, volume, et-cetera, but full-oak here. To my palate, despite a fine and long finish, this isn’t drinkable – but wait 10 years. It will need it … I needed to wash my mouth out after this one! And so-far, the only one!

Château des Bachelards
A fresh and open nose of complexity and fine, subtle, florality. Fresh, weighted, good energy, and a growing volume of complex flavour. Very nice but certainly not the most gourmand today, but it’s impeccably balanced and complex wine for another day – just a great finish though!
The 2014s…

Domaine de l’Ancienne Relais, Clos de la Brosse
Not the most impact, but this nose has an easy-going quality about it. In the mouth there is the freshness of the 2015s with, like the nose, a little more relaxed flavour – certainly plenty of salinity in the impressive finishing complexity. Modest intensity finish, but all the same, a tasty finish.

Domaine du Haut Poncié
A fresh nose with a reductive toast accent. Wide, complex, good energy. There is spice component here too – though less pronounced than for most of the 2015s. A little herb in an otherwise wide and tasty finish.

Domaine du Moulin Berger, Cuvée Flora
A slightly tight nose, and one with a trace of reduction. Quite good volume here – like a 2015 but the overall impression is one with a little less ripeness. That said, the finish is a complexly-mouth-watering thing.

Domaine de la Pirolette
Good aromatic of fresh volume. In the mouth too there’s freshness and a very nice width of flavour. Like the last, though less overtly than the last, there is the impression of a little less ripeness here – but that will fade as there’s a fine finishing length and tasty width of flavour too. Yum.

Domaine de l’Ancienne Relais
A nose with some depth and whilst narrower ‘up top’ there is a fine freshness and saline character here. Silky, growing in volume, edged with a little tannin, complex flavour – easily the most approachable and drinkable of these 2014 – almost delicious! Super wine.
2011 – there’s just the one:
Loron et Fils Famille Barbet, Clos des Billards
Ooh – it’s modest at the top but there’s a deep well of attractive aromas here. The tannin still has a little astringency, but the volume in the mouth is easily a match for all those 2015s – complexity of flavour here – weight of flavour too – there is the very first suggestion of Marsala which is very attractive at this level – still very-much a baby wine to wait for – but bravo!
2009 – there’s also just the one:
Domaine des Vignes du Paradis
Another large-scaled nose of even more complexity – here with plenty of attractive and more mature references. Over the tongue this remains a wine of scale and now with a beautiful texture that offers only the faint accent of fine-grained tannin. Long, long with super complexity. Such a big yet accommodating wine – bravo!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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