ROUGE QUEUES CELSIUS ROUGE GAMAY 2019
PRETTY PULP TANNIN
CLASSIC / ORGANIC / 750ML
Organic fruit sourced from Beaujolais. The Gamay spent a small amount of time going through Carbonic Maceration before being foot stomped. The resulting wine is pretty with a slight stemmy grip. An insightful expression of how powerful the variety can be.
From the distributor: Purchased certified organic Gamay from Beaujolais. 100% whole bunch, semi-carbonic maceration then foot stomped in tank. Ten months elevage before being racked to bottle. Humble, sensitive, generous, honest... there are so many adjectives that could describe Isabelle and Pierre Vantley, owners and vignerons of Domaine des Rouges Queues. I have met them and tasted their wines a few times on my journey and I have always liked the energy in what they produce.
Located in the town of Sampigny-lès-Maranges, this lovely couple farm six hectares of certified organic/biodynamic principal vineyards in Maranges, Santenay, and the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune. These wines are an excellent representation of good farming in Burgundy and they have worked the vines without chemicals since 1998, date where they started the domaine. Showcasing unique, expressive character of the terroir that is sometimes lost in the bigger estates. These are pure, alive and raw wines crafted with loved by this avant-garde couple that do almost everything themselves.
Situated at the southernmost end of the Côte d'Or, they are relatively more affordable than any other famous appellations of Burgundy.
CHARNAY BEAUJOLAIS GAMAY 2020
FRESH PEPPER BRAMBLE
LEFT OF CENTRE / ORGANIC / 750ML
The Organic grape grower Thibault Charnay has finally made his first wine and it's a cracker. Sourced from his own small vineyard based in Anse. The vineyard is trellised on golden limestone that gives the wine a briny edge. In the glass, it is peppery, with red-berried compote, bramble tartness and chalky tannins.
From the Distributor After creating and running his own construction company for nearly a decade, Thibault Charnay returned to the family Domaine in 2012 to work in the vineyards around his hometown. He purchased a few additional hectares of vines, and today, he farms 12 hectares of Gamay on the classic Pierres dorées (golden limestone) around Anse in the southern part of the Beaujolais.
For many years, thanks to his ready access to tractors and other machinery, Thibault helped his wife Emilie’s family carry out the organic treatments in their vineyards. Inspired and nudged by his brother in law Raphael at Domaine Saint Cyr, Thibault decided to convert his own Domaine to organic farming in 2019, as well as vinify and bottle his own production (rather than sell it off to the négociants).
BAPTISTE BERTRAND PLEINE TETE BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU GAMAY 2019
UNDERGROWTH VIBRANT HAWBERRY
LEFT OF CENTRE / ORGANIC / 750ML
A robust example of Gamay. The fruit wasn't solely carbonically macerated so a darker edge is present. Undergrowth with salivating astringency gives a serious edge to this vibrant Gamay.
Sourced from Paris Wine Company: Pleine Tête is a shockingly simple and delicious Gamay from humble Beaujolais-Villages vineyards, situated in the shadow of the Mont Brouilly. Vinified in the semi-carbonic, vin nature style, this wine is a subversive wink to the vino-industrial complex that still dominates the Beaujolais. Baptiste designed his own label, inspired by the street artist Banksy's famous mural of a revolutionary preparing to hurl a bouquet of flowers, but of course in the Beaujolais, one must be ready to fight with Gamay.
It says Baptiste Bertrand on the label, but everyone calls him Bart. Located in Beaujolais, Baptiste farms 4.5 hectares of vines on clay-limestone soils around Charentay, a small commune that makes up part of a swath of Beaujolais-Villages vineyards between Mont Brouilly to the south and Morgon to the north. Baptiste originally studied ecology, with a specialization in environmental management and cartography. After working for organizations and nonprofits for a decade around France, he found himself back home in Beaujolais, where he spent three years managing a local project related to local vineyards. When that project came to an end, a friend suggested that he takes over some vines from a retiring winemaker.
Baptiste is the first producer in Charentay to be certified organic, and his wines are produced using simple traditional equipment and minimal intervention. The winery is housed in a large, century-old winemaking complex that a friend had purchased to renovate into several apartments, then offered to let Baptiste use the existing press room and cellar for its original purpose. Baptiste uses a small vintage wooden basket press for the crush, then all wines are fermented in large concrete tanks. Nothing is added except occasional doses of sulfur when needed. Most of the wine is aged in concrete, though a small portion goes into used barrels. In 2020, Baptiste began experimenting with fiberglass eggs.
LES BERTRAND CUVEE DU CHAOS GAMAY 2018
PLUSH COMPLEX LIVELY
EDGY / BIODYNAMIC ORGANIC / 750ML
An intriguing insight into how complex Gamay can be. Fruit forward, with wild herbs, henna and a rewarding rawness.
From the Producer: The average age of the vines: between 45 and 70 years. First vines worked on biodynamic principles (500, 501 ...) since 2012. Vines certified in organic farming. Cup size according to the lunar calendar to regenerate the wood. Alternating soil ploughing and controlled natural grassing. Association of plants for spraying (nettle, buckthorn, etc.).
Cold carbonic maceration (around 10-12 ° C in vatting) for 20 to 22 days, avoiding any handling. Without sulphur or yeast. 50% in a 600 litre demi-muid, 25% in a 300 litre barrel, 25% in a 225 litre barrel for 8 months. Old barrel of minimum 6 wines. Racking and bottling by gravity, without filtration, without sulphur and according to the cycle of the moon. Keep in bottle for 10 months before sale.
Since 2008, all nine hectares of the estate have been conducted using biology and, gradually, since 2012, using biodynamic. The soil is the basis of our work. On its good health depends that of the vine and the quality of our wines to come. Paying attention to it and understanding its microbiology remains, in our opinion, the best path to take to guarantee its balance and translate the full expression of the terroir.
The preparations play a fundamental role in biodynamics. In order to preserve a living and evolving soil and to promote the symbiosis of microorganisms of plant and animal species, we add “500” to our soil. These organic preparations made from horn dung are used in addition to a supply of compost. In spring, we alternate phases of tillage (ploughing) with spontaneous grassing. The goal? Favour endemic flora in order to let a part of "wild nature" take back its rights... In this vein, we continually seek to improve the structure and humus contained in our soil. To meet its nutritional needs, a supply of organic matter is essential. Using a methodology developed by us, we produce "homemade" compost invigorated with biodynamic plant-based preparations. All of the treatments are carried out by combining plant extracts (nettle, horsetail, buckthorn, etc.) and/or essential oils.
PIERRE-MARIE CHEMETTE LES GRIOTTES 2019
CHERRY BUNCH QUENCH
CLASSIC / 750ML
A serious Beaujolais that is still cheeky and light at heart. Grown on dark granitic soils, with carefully managed vineyards to keep yields down and wine complexity up! A charming Gamay with vibrant lifted fruits and a lovely stemmy edge that gives a sandy mouth feel. Very gluggable.
From the Producer: This Beaujolais cherrybomb is drawn from 20- to 40-year-old vines grown on dark granite soils around the homestead in Saint-Vérand (in southern Beaujolais). The winemaking here has remained unchanged for decades, with traditional whole-bunch, semi-carbonic fermentation in concrete tanks and then maturation in both tank and ancient oak casks still the order of the day.
As opposed to his age-worthy Crus from Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, et al., Chermette's aim here is to produce something light-bodied, bright and cherry-fruited with reach-for-another-glass charm. So exuberant you could be tasting out of barrel. There's a gentle spicy complexity from the whole bunches matched by waves of crushed raspberry and spiced cherry. supported by mouth-watering acidity and silky tannins.
The late Marcel Lapierre once said of Beaujolais, “Ça se bois sous la douche.” (It’s a wine you can drink under the shower). While this captures the simple deliciousness of much Beaujolais, it doesn’t do justice to the wines being produced by the finest artisans like Pierre-Marie Chermette. Of the wines of Domaine du Vissoux we would be more likely to say, “Il est trop bon pour être bu sous la douche!” It’s too damn good to be drunk in the shower! Beaujolais can be the most joyful, compelling and life-affirming of wines. Yet in the hands of a master it can also be a wonderfully refined, long-lived Burgundy. Domaine du Vissoux is a producer capable of fashioning such wines. This is why their wines can be found in many of France’s finest restaurants and why Vissoux remains the highest-rated Beaujolais producer in the leading French wine guide, Les Meilleurs Vins de France.
Owners Pierre-Marie and Martine Chermette were among the first in Beaujolais to use sustainable agricultural practices, shunning the use of any chemicals in the vineyard and encouraging as much life in the soil as possible. They prune hard to keep yields low, harvest by hand when the grapes are fully ripe and regularly carry out ‘green harvests’ to further reduce the yields and ensure full ripeness for the harvest. The wines are made with minimal intervention: wild yeasts, minimal sulphur additions and no filtering if possible. Ageing is in traditional up-to-the-ceiling, neutral oak casks.
2009 was the vintage Beaujolais needed. Their ripe, fleshy personalities made the region sexy all over again. Everyone loved them. So what about 2010? Surely not? No it can’t be? Can it? Yes indeed! Another brilliant vintage for Beaujolais (and also a brilliant year across most European wine regions). Stylistically, much like Burgundy to its north and indeed the Rhône to the south, the 2010 wines are more pure, more fragrant, juicier and brighter than 2009 - somehow with more mouth-watering exuberance. Sounds almost too good to be true? Just like in the Côte d’Or, 2010 will be the vintage that many Beaujolais lovers prefer. Both are great vintages but the ‘10’s are just finer. It will come down to a question of taste.
The Wines: To get specific, the two Villages cuvees are pure and crunchy, smothered in lovely bright fruit. Simple, yet highly effective weapons of mass deliciousness. The two Fleurie wines combine explosive floral perfume with pure fruited seduction in the mouth; in 2010 they are the equal of the very finest Côte D’Or village wines. The Brouilly is the ‘meaty’ cuvee; full of smoky raspberry fruits with an uplifting, inky minerality. And last but certainly not least, the Moulin-à-Vent is intense and regal, its sumptuous, aromatic fruit sporting a structured Côte D’Or frame. It is both seductive and profound and ten plus years will not weary it. Without doubt the benchmark of the range and one of the greatest wines of Beaujolias!
Not only do the Chermettes produce outstanding Beaujolais from the crus of Moulin à Vent, Brouilly and Fleurie, but they also make some of France’s most highly regarded Crème de Cassis from their own fruit which we offer below. If there is a finer cassis made anywhere in the world, we have not tasted it. And now Pierre-Marie is producing some Crémant Blanc de Blancs which, as expected, is absolutely superb (otherwise he would not do it)!
BEL AIR LES GRANITS BLEUS GAMAY 2019
BRIGHT CRUNCH GAMAY
CLASSIC / ORGANIC / 13% ALC / 750ML
The Domaine is situated on the lofty slopes of Bel Air, overlooking the capital of Beaujolais, Beaujeu. Since 2009 their vineyards have been organically tended. The ‘Granits Bleus’ is an excellent example of the serious side of gamay. A coil of carbonic driven red fruits backed up by weathered rock and a welcoming tannic chew.
Domaine de Bel-Air has a deeply rooted history in Beaujolais dating back almost 180 years. Somewhat poetically, the original estate house of the Domaine is perched on the hill of Bel-Air overlooking the town of Beaujeu, capital of the Beaujolais region. But despite this long history, the destiny of the Domaine dramatically changed in 1986 when Jean-Marc Lafont, current owner with his wife Annick, took over the estate. Jean-Marc immediately took a different approach. In 1989, the vineyards started to be grown without chemicals and since 2009 they have been grown organically. To have his vineyard’s soil develop a biodiversity is a vision Jean-Marc cherishes. This biodiversity is essential to elaborate distinctive wines, which are synonymous with the location at which they are produced. Under the watch of Jean-Marc, the Domaine’s holding has been consolidated to 23 hectares in total.Jean-Marc’s father worked at Domaine de Bel-Air and Jean-Marc grew up running around the vineyard and helping out where possible. He has strong memories of his childhood at Domaine de Bel-Air and still remembers the different aromas floating around in the winery from that time. It is that love affair and a deep connection that drove him to buy the Domaine and work as hard as possible to bring it to where it is today. You can identify that positive energy in his wines. Today, the Domaine has exceptionally old vineyards located in Beaujolais’ prime locations within the appellations of Morgon, Brouilly, Fleurie, Régnié and Moulin à Vent. Jean-Marc’s experience coupled with his natural curiosity, provide him with a profound understanding of his native region. Jean-Marc has seen the region evolve from the mass production of inexpensive wines to more terroir* driven wines of extreme finesse. What’s more, he has always led the charge to improve the quality of the wines by experimenting with new methods in order to enhance the limitless resources of the Beaujolais soils. From blue or rose granite to clay, manganese or schist, the variation of soils on the hills of the different Beaujolais villages brings fantastic diversity. The wines from Morgon, Brouilly and Fleurie are generous with vibrant red and black fruits, floral notes and spice. The colour oscillates from deep red to black and shows you how intense these wines are. An intensity that is very seductive and driven. The Moulin à Vent on the other end is more structured, spicy with some hints of violet and truffle when aged a bit. There are two special cuvées produced from two of the best vineyards of the Domaine with an average age of 80 years old that undergo oak maturation for 12 to 15 months. These two cuvées, Brouilly “Gorge de Loup” and Moulin à Vent “Granit et Manganèse” are examples of the capacity of certain Beaujolais vineyards to perform like a 1er or Grand Cru from Burgundy, its northern neighbour. These two cuvées can age for more than 15 years and be incredibly complex and impressive.