jamie goode's wine blog

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An amazing natural Beaujolais

Beaujolais should be a fun, good-time wine, but it's mostly depressing and either a bit spoofy of simply joyless. Fortunately, there are some natural winemakers who are producing incredibly elegant, complex expressions of Gamay from Beaujolais' distinctive terroirs. They're the ones that I like to drink. And they're also the sorts of wines that I always feel like drinking, too. Here's a good one.

Yvon Metras Moulin-a-Vent 2007 Beaujolais
Pale cherry red colour. Wonderful tension between the sweet, light cherry fruit and the more savoury, earthy, minerally dimension. This is subtle, complex and beautiful with pure sweet fruit complemented by a touch of more evolved character, adding complexity and elegance. Almost perfect balance with a hint of sappiness and lovely purity: this has the same sort of elegance as a good Grand Cru red Burgundy. 93/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene)

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beaujolais Nouveau arrives, but it's not the Beaujolais I drink tonight

I quite like young wines. The idea behind Beaujolais Nouveau is a great one, but the problem is the wine. If they could get a vibrant, youthful, natural-tasting wine that tastes like a barrel sample to market soon after the vintage, I'd buy it and drink it in quantity. But most nouveau tastes confected and fake. There's no joy in that. Bottle me some still fermenting wine from a cask if you must! This is a wine of the moment. As Kermit Lynch puts it, the 'one night stand of wines'.

In recognition of the fact that today is Nouveau Day 2008, tonight I'm drinking two cru Beaujolais from the 2007 vintage. One is nice and fruity, but a little confected. The other is fantastically elegant and pure.

Henry Fessy Cuvee 'Georges Fessy' 2007 Brouilly, Beaujolais
This is sweet, seductive and fruity, with a smooth red cherry fruit character, as well as a hint of bubblegum aromatics. It's very polished and fruity, but a little bit too smooth and confected for me. It's nice enough, but there are lots of wines offering simple fruit these days, and I'm left wanting a little bit more. 86/100 (£10.99 Handford, Amps, Planet of the Grapes)

Yvon Metras Fleurie 2007 Beaujolais, France
This is fantastic. It has a complex, forward nose of bright cherries, spice and earth, with an underlying sweetness and some subtly tarry notes. The palate is smooth, seamless and really elegant with a delicious earthy, minerally core to the fruit holding everything in lovely tension. There's some sweetness and richness here that you don't really expect from Beaujolais, but there's also lovely elegance. This is what Gamay can do so well. 91/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene)

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Football, ice, Beaujolais and anticipating the trade fair

Some bits and pieces. Just got back from playing football for the first time in ages. Had a slight twinge in the hamstring before I played, but I didn't feel too bad on the pitch, although I knew I shouldn't really be risking it. Like a child, though, I just couldn't defer gratification. Last time I had a hamstring problem I was limping for two months.

Afterwards I copied the example of premiership footballers. And I'm not referring here to going out to a nightclub, drinking absurd quantities of booze, and then getting arrested for attacking someone. I used ice. Apparently, the tradition now is not to take big communal baths where everyone hunts for the bar of soap, but rather to fill a small bath with ice and then get in it. It's really good for muscles. So I sat for half an hour on one of those wine cooling things I found in the freezer. My hamstring felt much better for it.

Time for something to drink. I turned to Beaujolais, and a bottle I wasn't expecting a great deal from. For me, George Duboeuf represents the commercially successful face of Beaujolais winemaking, turning out correct, saleable wines that are agreeable but don't excite. In my experience they've always been well made, but lacking a real sense of place. This wine is a bit better than I was expecting, but if I'm going to be really honest, it's in that mould.

Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles 2006 Beaujolais
Slightly confected nose has sweet fruit and a bit of bubblegum character. The palate has a bright red berry fruit presence: it's accessible, juicy and quite fun, with good acidity and a bit of grippy tannin. There's nothing wrong with this at all, and it's better than the majority of Beaujolais I come across, but it lacks any excitement for me. It's the sort of wine I' be happy to drink if there weren't any more exciting options on a wine list, but it wouldn't be my first choice. Very good 84/100

It's the London International Wine and Spirit Fair tomorrow, and continuing on until Thursday. I'm chairing the closures seminar tomorrow, and then attending a seminar on Rustenberg on Wednesday, followed by a Nomacorc seminar on Thursday. I'll also be wandering around, probably in a bit of a daze, because this is a huge event.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Foillard's Pi Morgon

Continuing on the theme of natural wine - I do hope I'm not boring you - I'm currently sipping a Morgon from Jean Foillard. It's not the Côte du Py 2004 which I raved about elsewhere, but another cuvee labelled intriguingly 3.14, with a futuristic label depicting the pi symbol. This is a low/no sulfur wine, but it doesn't suffer from the brett problems that bedeviled the last Morgon I blogged on.

Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvee 3,14 2004 Beaujolais, France
Slightly muted cherry fruits nose leads to a savoury palate with some spiciness and smooth, elegant cherryish fruit, together with a turned earth, dark savoury edge. On one level this is a fresh, refreshing easy drinking sort of wine, but on another it has a more serious, brooding side to its personality. The second night it is little changed. Enjoyable but not as alluring as the Cote du Py cuvee he also makes. Very good+ 89/100 (From Caves Auge in Paris)

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bretty Beaujolais

Time to crack another of my 'natural' wines, which I purchased on a recent Paris trip. Now, although I'm a wine technology sort of guy, I'm not a wine faults policeman. The initial response of those who have learned to spot what are known as wine faults is to then police wines they taste for the faintest whiff of brettanomyces, or volatile acidity, or reduction. I prefer to treat each wine on its own merits, and judge more holistically. I can forgive a 'fault' if it works in the context of the wine. This bottle has left me struggling a little: I don't think brettanomyces works terribly well in the context of a Cru Beaujolais. Of course, I don't have a lab test to prove the presence of brett, but this is about a bretty a wine (to my perception) that I have met. It's a shame: I wanted to love it.

Jean-Paul Thevenet Morgon Vieilles Vignes 2005 Beaujolais, France
Hmmm, bretty Beaujolais. Quite fresh, brightly fruited nose with a spicy, medicinal, smoky sort of character. The palate has a meaty, spicy, phenolic character imprinted on the otherwise pure red fruits. Quite enjoyable in a very savoury, spicy, funky sort of way, but it's verging on flawed for me, and I don't really mind brettanomyces too much in the right sort of context. Very good+ 85/100

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

cheese and natural wine

Sbrinz, a Swiss cheese, is new to me. Finding out that I was exploring the world of cheese, Bill Nanson (www.burgundy-report.com) kindly brought some over on his recent visit for the DRC tasting.

It's a hard cow's milk cheese that's similar to Grana Padano or Parmesan in texture. This one is 36 months old, and it probably has a bit of a fuitier, tangier flavour than its Italian counterparts, and is a little less salty. It's great on its own. I reckon it's quite wine friendly, too. It's also a cheese with its own official website.

Tonight's accompaniment is one of the natural wines I bought on my Paris trip.

Guy Breton Morgon Vieilles Vignes 2004 Beaujolais
With a front label that looks like a back label, this is an unusual, interesting, but less than fully convincing wine. There's some lovely, smooth, pure elegant red fruits, which are complemented by some spicy, minerality, a slightly out-of-place richer fudge and tar edge, and at the end of the palate a bit of earthy, herbal character. Overall, this is a delicious, fresh, easy drinking style of Beaujolais with a real transparency and honesty to it, but all the components don't quite sit together in harmony. I hope that doesn't sound too negative, because this is a very enjoyable wine. Very good+ 88/100 (Les Caves Auge, Paris)

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