And for those of you with an interest, for the third year in a row, the tasting panels of the Tastevinage have chosen their ‘majors’ for the year – their best wines tasted. Like last year they have stuck with the reduced number of 12 wines to showcase. You can see them in the image below – courtesy the Tastevinage organisation. There are a couple of names that I don’t know and others that you will have seen showcased here in Burgundy Report.
2020 is the next in a series of warm vintages in the Beaujolais; it was frost-free in the Springtime and there was practically no hail in the Summer either. If there was to be one problem it was the dryness – some areas were described by locals as ‘being on the limit.‘
Yet when it came to the harvest they had good, clean, grapes – even those with quite high degrees of potential alcohol. The final figures are not yet available for the yields in 2020 but the current expectation is for volumes that are below the average due to the aforementioned dryness. If that turns out to be the case, I won’t be at all surprised.
2020 and the most recent vintages:
I’ve done this tasting since the 2017 vintage, and whilst the recent quality from Grower Nouveau is on a much, higher level than I can ever recollect – and with much more consistency too – it seems to me that yields go a long way to defining what you will find in a bottle of Nouveau.
I’m certain that it’s not particularly from the perspective of absolute quality that yields show themselves but rather from the perspective of the consistency of the observed quality where they play their role. Some people will always go to the maximum allowed – 65 hl/ha – whilst others are quite happy with 45 – or less:
Vintage 2017 – a warm, clean, early vintage – one hailstorm excepted – but low yielding. The best wines were excellent and the quality was consistent
Vintage 2018 – a warm clean and again an early vintage but with many higher-yielding places where the producers allowed. I observed significant quality differences in the samples – I largely attributed this to big swings in yields.
Vintage 2019 – another warm vintage with harvesting a little later but because of both frost and hail, yields were cut. The best wines were of high quality and the consistency was intermediate to 2017 and 2018.
Vintage 2020 – a warm clean vintage with consistently below-average yields. The best wines, once again, show high quality and a consistency that’s at least as good as seen in the 2017s. The wines are relatively powerful and well constructed, the ‘villages’ wines generally need a little patience but are consistently excellent! NB Given the early harvest in 2020, these wines have seen nearly an extra month of ageing – that’s 33% more! – than would be the case for a, more traditional, late-September harvest. In 2020 you can almost blind-buy Beaujolais-Villages-Nouveau as they are overwhelmingly excellent, less-so Beaujolais Nouveau but still with some confidence. Of course, if you don’t want to gamble, try the list further below.
And the market?
Of course, it’s a nightmare time to have an en-primeur campaign in ‘mid-lockdown’ but judging by the number of trucks on French roads, logistics still seem to be effective. It’s (still) a very important slice of the region’s sales for these primeurs – Japan representing the largest export market after the US, Canada, Switzerland and then the UK. About 46% of the production was exported from France in 2019, when Nouveau accounted for nearly 30% of all the sales from Beaujolais – about 21 million bottles – and that now includes 2 million bottles of rosé too!
So how are the wines? One week before the big day, here is my list of 21 goto wines from 162 tasted 04 November 2020:
2020 Beaujolais Nouveau:
2020 Fellot Emmanuel, Vieilles-Vignes
2020 Château de L’Eclair
2020 Coquard Christophe
2020 Famille Chasselay, La Marduette
2020 Jean Loron, Tradition Vieilles Vignes
2020 Domaine Girin
2020 Chandesais, Petit Marcel
2020 Domaine Perroud Robert, Vieilles-Vignes
2020 Les Vins Aujoux
2020 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau:
2020 Domaine Nesme Mickael
2020 Famille Chevrier
2020 Colonge André et Fils, N°1 Gasby Gamay
2020 Fessy Henry, Tradition
2020 Domaine Lagneau
2020 Domaine des Fournelles – Dumontet Guillaume
2020 Lacondemine Jérôme, Coeur de Raisin
2020 Domaine Monternot Les Jumeaux
2020 Dubost Jean Paul, Beaujolais Lantignié
2020 Cave du Château des Loges, Les Trois Madones
2020 Boudeau Nicolas
Click below to see the full notes for all 162 wines:
*Groupe des Jeunes Professionnels de la Vigne et du vin de Bourgogne
In mid-October, the young professionals held their blind tasting in Chorey-lès-Beaune with nearly 100 tasters – all blind-tasting. Here’s a nice list of (mainly) very good value wines from the vote-count – note, no mail-in votes!
These wines will subsequently be blind-tasted to reveal the ‘producer-winners’ in GJPV regional categories, usually done in the week of the Beaune wine-auction.
We may not know a lot about the covid-compatible arrangements for November’s 160th auction of the Hospices de Beaune wines, but we do now know that the Hospices de Beaune and the Château de Chambord are coming together to deliver the Pièce de Charité or Presidents’ Barrel for the auction on Sunday November 15, 2020.
We also know who the end recipients are for money for this special barrel: The profits from the sale of the Presidents’ Barrel will benefit the hospital workers of France via the Fédération Hospitalière de France (FHF) and the Management Committee of Social Works of Public Hospitals (CGOS) who will oversee the distribution of the donations to hospital staff and their families who have been affected by the covid epidemic.
The wine itself will come from the Côte de Nuits – Clos de la Roche from vines planted between 1968 and 1972 – and the barrel will be made from oak from the Chambord forest of the Domaine de Chambord.
“It’s a shame that we lack data for 1945, and even more so, 1947, but what’s striking is that the majority of the hottest days on record are still from 2003 – 1947 would likely have offered competition! All of the top 10 hottest vintages are post-2000 with six of the seven hottest vintages all post-2011 – 2003 being the seventh! Even 2014, which I consider to be the last of the classic red vintages – ie not super-sweet – is the 5th hottest year in our list!”
I previously mentioned the first-round tasting for Burgundy’s young winemaking talents 2019, well for the weekend of the Vend du Vin, the final blind taste-off was done and the winners chosen.
And the results?
On Friday 15 November evening, at the Palais des Congrès in Beaune, the GJPV organization awarded their seven regional trophies to the following young winemakers:
- Damien MARTIN – Domaine de LA DENANTE – Mâconnais
- Arnaud et Xavier DESFONTAINE – Château de CHAMILLY – Côte Chalonnaise
- Laurent GAY – Domaine Michel GAY & Fils – Côte de Beaune
- Prune AMIOT – Domaine AMIOT-SERVELLE – Côte de Nuits
- Charly NICOLLE – Domaine CHARLY NICOLLE – Chablis
- Bastien MATHIAS – Domaine Alain MATHIAS – Grand Auxerrois
- Cyril CHIROUZE – Château des JACQUES – Beaujolais
For the second vintage, the tasting panels of the Tastevinage have chosen their ‘majors’ for the year – their best wines tasted. This year they have reduced their list from the 20 that were chosen last year, to just 12 for this. There are some unexpected names in the list too!
For this ‘award,’ the twelve were chosen from the 1,215 wines that were submitted to blind taste in 2019:
160 wines blind-tasted in Beaujolais, 05 November 2019.
Of course, 2019 was another in the series, the trilogy, of warm years – but one with instances of frost. More drastic than the frost was a late-arriving hailstorm that on the 20th of August swept through the south of Beaujolais, cutting yields – in some cases drastically. The average losses were minus 30% – but it was Beaujolais-Villages where the most was lost, hence, the volume of ‘Nouveau de Garde’ has been significantly reduced this year.
I’ve previously laughed out load about the concept of Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau – Nouveau that you can cellar – so I will not bore you about that, not this time!
This year I embarked on a 160 wine gamayathon; I was certainly tired at the end, fortunately not emotional though! This year we even had 8 Nouveau of a different colour – rosé… That’s up from the 3 from last year that I didn’t taste(!) At this rate of growth we will have 20 in 2020!
What to expect and what’s really worth buying
So three quite hot years, generally that’s beneficial to the quality, but with three different results:
2017 – low yielding and probably because of that a really high quality in both the Nouveau and the Villages Nouveau
2018 – less low yielding, and that was the crux. Basic Nouveau was much more variable but the Villages Nouveau was more consistent
2019 – because of frost and hail, yields were cut, and for the consumer that has once more brought consistency and quality to the basic Nouveau category due to lower yields. I think only twice did I instantly say ‘No!’ and run from a particular wine. As for the Villages Nouveau – here was overwhelmingly more concentration and particularly intensity – the intensity of acidity – probably okay if you wish to cellar your Nouveau for 6-12 months, but I was looking for the balance for drinking now, and from this tasting that was relatively rare. As for the rosé wines – super, all of them – really a great source of easy, delicious drinking for the next weeks – or even longer – why not? Read more..
Last week I was involved in the tastings that will determine the 2019 Young Talents from all regions of Burgundy. This (document below) is the result of the first tasting which delivers the 3 top producers in each territory. There will be further taste-off to decide which of the 3 nominees in each geographical area gets the final prize.