Wines of the year (4) some brilliant French wines

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Continuing the theme of wines of the year, I’ve picked some of the very best French wines that I tasted in 2016, excluding Champagnes and older wines, which I wrote about separately. So many good bottles here, including a strong showing from Beaujolais, which may surprise some people.

Richard Leroy Les Rouliers Chenin 2012 Vin de France
Amazingly intense matchstick nose is mineral and taut with citrus, flint and spice. The palate has ripe apple, spice and pear with lovely bright citrus notes. Complex and detailed with amazing integrated reductive mineral notes. So expressive. 95/100

Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans Saumur 2012 Loire, France
13% alcohol. Chenin Blanc from tufa soils. Very spicy, smoky and linear with sweet apple, a hint of hay and bright lemony acidity. Such precision here with an amazing linear focus, and a touch of anise and apple on the finish. Long and profound. 95/100

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Lapierre Morgon Côte du Py Cuvée Marcel Lapierre 2014 Beaujolais, France
Beautifully aromatic: pure, floral and sappy with nice ripeness. Silky with a generous, almost liqueur-like cherry note as well as supple raspberry notes. Crisp but with generosity, this is quite beautiful. 96/100

Jean Marc Burgaud Morgon Côte du Py Javernières 2014 Beaujolais, France
This is from a more alluvial part of Côte du Py. Brooding and smooth with pure black cherry, raspberry and red cherry fruit. Amazing finesse on the palate with focused blackcurrant fruit. Amazing finesse. 95/100

Frédéric Berne Morgon Corcelette 2014 Beaujolais, France
From deep pink granite soils, this is elegant yet fresh with liqueur-like richness to the fruit. Complex, with fine, fresh fruit and grippy tannins, as well as a slightly sappy edge. Really pure and elegant with amazing finesse. Finely grained. 95/100

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Château Moulin à Vent Croix des Vérillats 2014 Beaujolais, France
Beautifully perfumed with sweet, floral, aromatic sweet black cherry fruit and some raspberries, showing some subtle herbal notes. Beguiling and complex. Lovely concentration here with expressive finely spiced black fruits. Polished but not overly so: thrilling, in a modern style. 95/100

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Domaine Piron Lameloise Chenas ‘Quartz’ 2014 Beaujolais, France
From Dominique Piron. Very fresh red fruits nose with some peppery spiciness. Detailed and fresh with some raspberry too. Lovely elegance on the palate, which shows focused red cherry and raspberry fruit with some peppery detail. Floral, fresh and delicious. 95/10

Thillardon Chenas ‘Chassignol’ 2014 Beaujolais, France
Granite and quartz soils make their mark here. Fine, fresh and expressive peppery nose with some sappy red fruits. So pretty. Lively, bright and sappy on the palate with a hint of green and a vivid, peppery, mineral edge to the red fruits. Good acidity and focus to this pure wine. 95/100

Patrick Piuze Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2010 Burgundy, France
Wonderfully mineral, spicy nose with a bit of nice reduction. Deliciously minerally on the palate with citrus and pear fruit. Subtle creamy notes in the background, but overall this is a powerful, fresh, driven Chablis with a complex, expressive personality. It’s just beautiful. 95/100

Raveneau Montée de Tonnerre Chablis 1er Cru 2006 Burgundy, France
Very taut and crystalline with lovely finesse to the mineral-driven lemon and pear fruit. Just a hint of creaminess in the background. So pure and fine with some oyster shell character. 95/100

Roulot Meursault Clos des Bouchères 1er Cru Monopole 2012 Burgundy, France
Beautifully taut and mineral with a subtle salty mineral streak and beautiful focus and finesse. Great precision here: a lovely wine. 96

Château Pichon Baron, Pauillac 2012 Bordeaux, France
This is sensational. It’s concentrated and intense with ripe blackcurrant and black cherry fruit supported by beautifully refined chalky tannins. Structured and bold with restraint: while this has enough ripeness, it is also really direct and savoury with lovely precision to the black fruits. There’s amazing balance and concentration here. Still very youthful with taut structure, and real potential for development. Such purity to the fruit, and no rough edges; structured and fine. An astonishingly good expression of this vintage, which I’ve grown to like quite a bit. 96/100

Zind Humbecht Riesling Clos St Urbain Grand Cru Rangen de Thann 2014 Alsace, France
Really focused lemony nose. Bright and mineral with real precision and focus, showing pure citrus fruits with well integrated acidity. Quite thrilling. 95/100

albert boxler

Albert Boxler Riesling Sommerberg Grand Cru ‘E’ 2014 Alsace
From a special parcel in the Sommerberg, which is cooler and more stony. Very lively, pure and mineralwith focused citrus and pear fruit, and a bit of white peach richness. Lively and pure with many dimensions. 95/100

Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru 2015 Alsace
This is amazing. From granitic soils. Bright, taut and linear with a stony, mineral edge to the palate, which is tight and lean with lovely acidity and an almost saline character. Such precision and linearity, and real length. 95/100

Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en Chalasse’ 2013 Côtes de Jura, France
From massale selection vines planted in 2003, this is truly remarkable. Fermented and aged in older oak. Complex, lively and citrussy with lovely lemony notes and real concentration and intensity. So fine and distinctive with fine spicy notes and lovely acidity. This is just incredibly beautiful and complex. 95/100

Domaine Labet Chardonnay ‘La Bardette’ 2014 Côtes de Jura, France
13% alcohol, pH 3.01, 10 mg/l total SO2. This is from a small 0.55 ares parcel that spends 18 months in oak, and it’s massale selection Chardonnay. Complex, intense and mineral with lovely crystalline citrus and grapefruit character. Smoky, mineral and bright with a pithy edge and some apple and pear notes. This has a bit of grip, with some fine spiciness and a reductive twist. 95/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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