Summer is coming. It’s the perfect time to enjoy slightly chilled, bright, and gulp-able wines from one Frances most undervalued wine regions. Beaujolais, particularly in its cru villages is the home of supper supple and serious wines at a very pocket friendly price. Cursed perhaps by the image of a once-a-year November celebration this region. Beaujolais wines are much more than just “Nouveau”. With complex deep flavours from unique terroirs, serious quality cru Beaujolais can offer immense pleasure when young while still having the ability to age as well as any great wine from the Cote d’Or to the north. We are happy to introduce two exciting Beaujolais Domains to Japan for the first time.
Frederic Aublanc – Brouilly
Fred is based high the end of a winding road beyond the Brouilly vineyard in a large seemingly ramshackle house over an ancient, vaulted cellar lined with an impressive collection of old bottles of others and his own family’s wines. His family have farmed vines here and in Burgundy and in Champagne for over two hundred years. Fred was initiated in vinification in the 1980’s, and today he’s happy to farm 7 ha of beautiful old vines. He farms the vineyards organically, and makes the wines traditionally by semi carbonic maceration, and with or without sulphites depending on the quality of the raw material. You could say the wines are “natural” but Fred prefers “traditional”, as it it’s the way it has always been done. These are rare wines, and he exports very little selling mainly to a handful of adoring cavistes in France. There are three cuvee’s. A rare and exceptional white wine made from Chardonnay, a complex blend of three vintages. There is Tentation, a super juicy and fresh “villages” blend of three plots over two vintages. Finally there is a more traditional Brouilly, a bigger, deeply flavored wine with serious aging potential.
Clos de la Roilette is located to the east of the village of Fleurie down the hill toward Moulin-a-Vent and holds a vast view of the vineyard south, east and north. It’s not actually a Clos but the savvy owner who named the estate registered the name and so the registration goes. On the other hand, it might be a Clos for the soil is distinct from the rest of Fleurie, having a greater clay component unlike the pure granite of the rest of the Appellation. Indeed the story goes the estate was once within the then better known Moulin-a-Vent Appellation but was re-classified into Fleurie to the then owner’s displeasure – and he responded by placing a horse prominently on his label rather than the name Fleurie. Fortunately times have changed… What hasn’t changed is the profile of the wine, denser with a darker fruit than many other wines of the Appellation. There are 9 hectares on its east-facing slope planted to Gamay on granite soils with a high clay and manganese content. The work is basically organic, by hand, with a very gentle touch so as not to disturb life in the soils below the very surface. The winemaking is classic. Semi-carbonic maceration, of whole bunches of courese, natural yeasts, in concrete tank, followed by 6 months or more in large old foudres for the main wine. Clos de la Roilette wines sit on lists next to more famous “natural” wines from the Crus of Beaujolais which themselves are rescuing the somewhat maligned name of the region. They represent outstanding value, once open they evolve beautifully over several days and will age well in bottle for many years.