2009 château des jacques oak-a-go-go

By billn on April 06, 2017 #beaujolais

2009 Château des Jacques, Moulin à Vent
Champ de Cour

Still quite a deep colour, not too much maturity. The nose is large, forward, sweet and cushioned – but this potentially delicious red fruit is still completely wrapped in vanilla oak – how did that happen?! This is supple and round with juicy, sweet fruit on the palate – like the nose this is seemingly delicious until the finish catches up with you – which is also a long line of vanilla flavour. I’m frankly amazed – first and last this wine still has too much vanilla – it seems that it will never fade. Beware all your gamay-based wines that ‘seem‘ to have too much vanilla but you decide to give them the benefit of the doubt because they are ‘young’ – it seems that they actually do have too much vanilla oak. Stuck!
Rebuy – No

beaujolais 2015 & the current market for bj…

By billn on March 29, 2017 #beaujolais#the market

My February 2017 report is now online, and it’s a 2015 Beaujolais-fest. 51 domaines and 355 wines – it’s also a great vintage!

In 2016, only 3 French regions experienced an increase in both their wine sales volumes and values; Beaujolais, Burgundy and Corsica. The crus of Beaujolais had 42% of their region’s sales volume and 54% in value. Beaujolais Villages (not nouveau) posted 6% of volume and 6% value growth, whereas Beaujolais (not nouveau) represented 11% of sales volume and 7% in value.

Whilst not my favourite appellation, even the Beaujolais Blanc and Beaujolais Villages Blanc continued to grow their volume and the Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages rosés – which I rate highly – increased by 7.2%. And then there’s Beaujolais Nouveau – whose sales volume is only a little less than that of the crus – even that label managed to grow its sales volume in 2016, albeit by only 0.1%.

At first sight this is a success story for Beaujolais but, unlike Burgundy, much of this growth has been bought – prices are really too low. Among the producers there’s a lot of fear about pricing, and dropping their prices in the face of buyers seems just a reflex action – whilst at the same time many producers see the cave cooperatives to be almost price-dumping. There are some price increases in the works for the brilliant 2015s, but often it amounts to 20-30 centimes per bottle – and the labels, corks, packaging and bottles have probably increased by more than that.

Having visited the magnificent ‘factory shop’ of Georges Duboeuf I have some sympathy with the price-dumping argument – how can a region ever drag itself from penury when it’s possible to buy a 2009 Fleurie off the shelf for €9? And Duboeuf is a long way from the worst offender!

enforcing the status quo?

By billn on February 27, 2017 #beaujolais#the market#warning - opinion!


I would say that here it is the ‘revitalising the region‘ comment that is up for interpretation – at least if we look at at past actions. Louis Latour, and I have to say Drouhin too, seem to approach the Beaujolais region purely as a source of ‘entry level wines.‘ Which (perhaps simplistically) could be viewed as trying to enforce the current status quo of the market. I would contrast that with the work of Bouchard Père at Château Poncié, or rather more successful, the work of Louis Jadot at Château des Jacques.

Beaujolais is only going to reap some reward for its action (where deserved) if those people who are deserving can monetise their efforts. Like Jadot, Lafarge-Vial and Thibault Liger-Belair are ‘externals’ who are successfully monetising good work, but for as long as major producers label a region only as the ‘entry level’ then that makes life difficult for all producers of a region, regardless of the quality that they can deliver.

Note: I was the very first writer to taste Louis Latour’s Pierre Dorée wine when bottled – last summer when visiting and profiling their Henry Fessy domaine/négoce/wines – and very good it is too. Here I only comment on my perception of the actual positioning of wine from Beaujolais by certain Burgundian ‘majors.’

week 3 of bo-jo-lays 2015 visits…

By billn on February 25, 2017 #beaujolais#travels in burgundy 2017

The last, lucky, producers who were unfortunate enough to host me to taste their 2015s!

There will be more visits/tastings to look at specific crus, but that’s enough for February’s report – now to finish January’s report – and that will be at least 5 days more work!

well that was a quick change!

By billn on February 15, 2017 #beaujolais#travels in burgundy 2017

Last month in Chablis, my visits were largely in a window of -3°C to -12°C.

This week in Beaujolais, Monday/Tuesday p.m. temperatures were about 12°C, and I’ll admit to having used the aircon in the car at one, seemingly, stressful point as I struggled to find a domaine – often an address in no more than a ‘lieu-dit’ in Beaujolais! But this afternoon, we hit 17°C – that’s summer in the UK! Fortunately, at least today, I knew where I was going 🙂

A few pics from the last couple of days:

The long slow death of (Saint) Amour(?)

By billn on February 14, 2017 #beaujolais

Saint Amour, today…


Will it really require the return of a few Mercedes 4×4 to resurrect one of the greatest wines of Beaujolais?

Fine writing from Aaron Ayscough…

want to know more about beaujolais nouveau? of-course you do :)

By billn on October 11, 2016 #beaujolais

bjn2016Even if only from a voyeuristic perspective!

Although most of us might have little more than an afterthought about this wine, it’s still a massive volume that is produced.

In 2015, for example, the Beaujolais region sold 193,000 hectoliters of Beaujolais Nouveau, or more easily understood as about 25.7 million bottles in France and abroad. The most important markets outside France are (in order) Japan the United States and the United Kingdom. I must admit to buying a bottle each year, but only one, and usually the one with the most attractive label!

There is even a website – but I couldn’t get it to work: – Still I don’t think that it will stop me from keeping with my previous buying habits!

ladies of beaujolais…

By billn on September 21, 2016 #beaujolais#other sites


Honestly, I dislike positive/negative profiling, so ‘women wine-makers‘ at least as a concept, grouping or genre has always seemed odd to me, because the job-title wine-maker is in itself sexless. I’ll give you that from a historical perspective, women winemakers are clearly in the minority – yet that is also ‘so last century…

That said, I’ll still take these infos on-board if it brings useful new names; Claude-Emmanuelle and Mee I’ve already visited – so now I’ll have to look out for Sonja, even if I already know the (brilliant) wines!

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