Feature on Crus Beaujolais
It’s time to drink Beaujolais!
Summer is coming. Now is the perfect time to enjoy slightly chilled, bright and quaffable wines from one of France’s most underappreciated wine regions. Beaujolais, particularly in its Cru Villages, is the home of super-supple, serious wines at a very pocket-friendly price. Hampered perhaps by the image of that once-a-year November celebration, 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 but will also age as well as any great wine from the Cote d’Or to the north.
We are pleased to introduce two exciting Beaujolais domaines to Japan for the first time.
Fred Aublanc is based high at the end of a winding road beyond the Brouilly vineyard in a large, seemingly ramshackle house over an ancient, vaulted cellar. His family have farmed vines here (and in Burgundy and Champagne) for over two hundred years. Fred was initiated in vinification in the 1980s, and today organically farms 7ha of beautiful old vines.
The winemaking is traditional, with semi-carbonic fermentations, minimal intervention, and with or without the use of sulphites, depending on the bottling. One could say the wines are “natural”, but Fred prefers “traditional”, as it’s the way it has always been done. These are excellently crafted expressions of Brouilly’s hilly and varied terroirs. Produced in small quantities, the wines are highly sought after and very few reach the export market, given their cult status in France.
There are three cuvees. A rare and exceptional white wine made from Chardonnay - a complex blend of three vintages. Tentation, a super-juicy and fresh “villages” blend of three plots over two vintages. Finally, a more traditional Brouilly - a bigger, deeply flavored wine with serious aging potential.
Producer Page Link≫FREDERIC AUBLANC
The vineyards of Clos de la Roilette are situated to the east of the village of Fleurie on one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. It’s not actually a Clos but the savvy owner who named the estate registered the name, and the registration stands. On the other hand, it could well be a Clos as the soil is distinct from the rest of Fleurie, having a high clay component, unlike the pure granite found throughout the rest of the appellation. Indeed, the story goes that the estate was once within the then better known Moulin-à-Vent appellation but was re-classified as Fleurie, much to the then owner’s displeasure – he responded by putting a horse prominently on his label, rather than the name Fleurie.
With a vast view, the 9-hectacre vineyard has an eastern exposure. Farmed sustainably, organically and by hand, it is planted to Gamay on heavy clay soils rich in manganese. The winemaking is classic - whole-bunch pressed, with native yeasts used for the semi-carbonic fermentations. The resulting wines have incredible richness and intensity, deeper in colour than most from the appellation. Highly perfumed and well structured, they show the fresh fruit profile of classic Fleurie when young but will age gracefully for many years. Produced in small quantities, they are highly sought after.
Producer Page Link≫CLOS DE LA ROILETTE