2009 Beaujolais - Shout them out...

As a relative novice to Beaujolais Im looking to get an active education with this vintage (or maybe its just hype?). Are there any do not miss producers and retailers? Im familiar with Chambers but should I have my eye on anyone else’s site as well?

If you don’t know what you like and don’t like you could do worse than simply ordering some of Kermit Lynch’s favorites.

You have had Beaujolais Cru before, though, haven’t you? Don’t go crazy over some industry hype if you haven’t actually tasted and enjoyed Gamay before - it isn’t exactly a top notch varietal.

Garagiste has its moments

Totally disagree. But it is in my bennifit for this to be the common perception.

Agree with Berry here. While you may not be able to reach the heights of a Grand Cru burgundy with 30 years of age, gamay can produce some incredibly satisfying wines. (You don’t always want to be drinking first growth bordeaux, cult cabs or Grand Cru burgs anyways.)

The JP Brun L’Ancien VV and the Coudert Clos de la Roilette are always good values and good bottles to try young (although the Clos de Roilette can certainly be cellared). I believe that they are out in the marketplace already. I think bottlings like these provide a good insight into the vintage.

I haven’t tried any of the '09s yet, but I have heard rumors of a very good vintage as a whole but that you have to be wary of overripe, blown out wines… just rumors though so take that with a grain of salt.

You can’t go wrong with anything Lynch or Dressner brings in but perhaps be wary of some of the bigger cru beaujolais (Morgon, Cote de Brouilly, Moulin-a-Vent) if you’re looking to drink them right away, some of them can be a bit tight when first released, particularly in a bigger vintage like '09 is purported to be.

Are you avoiding 07s and 08s? What producers have you tried and like? For me, contrasting vintages is a fun endeavor, and I thoroughly enjoy discovering preferences for certain wines from less-hyped vintages.


It’s hard to go wrong sticking with Chambers, but Crush and Vinopolis are also good sources. As mentioned the Brun Terres Dorrees is already in so you have something to sample and see if you want to proceed more completely. Personally I loved the wine.

Hi Robert,

There will be a lot of absolutely delicious Beaujolais to try in 2009, as it is indeed a very good, atypically ripe and opulent vintage for Beaujolais. As others here have mentioned, the Louis-Dressner and Kermit Lynch portfolios cover many of the very best estates (with an honorable mention for importer Weygandt-Metzler), and just choosing from their strip labels is a very good jumping off point. As a quick primer, the three best Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages producers that I regularly cross paths with are the aformentioned Jean-Paul Brun and his Domaine Terres Dorées, Pierre Chermette of Domaine du Vissoux and Domaine Dupeuble from the Kermit Lynch’s portfolio. I also find the Beaujolais-Villages from Joseph Drouhin consistently excellent and very classic in style and like all of this firm’s Beaujolais, a completely underrated source for very top drawer Crus and B-Villages.

Amongst the Cru Beaujolais, it is important to keep in mind(again as folks have mentioned already) that certain villages tend to produce much more structured wines, and this will be very evident in a powerful vintage like 2009. In general terms, the wines from Moulin-a-Vent, Morgon and Cote de Brouilly are going to demand a bit of bottle age to really start to drink well in 2009, and these may not be the best growers to focus on when tasting through the vintage to draw your own conclusions. But in these appellations, if you keep in mind that what you are tasting is likely going to need five years of bottle age to really blossom from these crus, you cannot go wrong with Kermit Lynch’s “Gang of Five” producers- Thevenet, Lapierre, Foillard, Breton are four of the five- as well as Georges Descombes and Louis et Claude Desvignes from Louis-Dressner. I also like very much the Morgons made by Louis Jadot and Joseph Drouhin for the big houses, and Jean-Paul Brun also makes a very good example of Morgon.

In Moulin-a-Vent, Louis Jadot’s Chateau des Jacques makes a very good range- though always structured when young- and Bernard Diochon is excellent year in and year out. Pierre Chermette also makes superb Moulin-a-Vent and the Drouhin version is consistently exceptional. In Cote de Brouilly, the two most exciting producers are Nicole Chanrion and Chateau Thivin (both represented by Kermit Lynch). The Chanrion is usually very accessible out of the blocks for this very stony terroir (it is an extinct volcano), while the Chateau Thivin bottlings demand time and are usually tight and structured when young. Better to try the delicious straight Brouilly from Chateau Thivin if you want to drink one of their wines out of the blocks, as that never demands patience and is lovely.

In the less structured Cru villages, wines I particularly like are the aformentioned Clos de la Roilette in Fleurie (they are the Chateau Yquem of the village- though their vines are right on the Moulin-a-Vent border and the wine used to be sold as Moulin-a-Vent before the AOC went into effect, so they are a bit more structured than most Fleuries), Cedric Chignard, Jean-Paul Brun and Pierre Chermette are all very, very good sources. Domaine Diochon in Moulin-a-Vent also makes a good Fleurie, as does Joseph Drouhin. In general these will be more floral, open and sappy bottles of Beaujolais out of the blocks and they will be delicious from the get-go.

In St. Amour, Domaine des Billards makes absolutely brilliant wines and is one of my favorite producers in all of Beaujolais. In Julienas, Michel Tete is the star producer, but I also like the Drouhin bottling from here very well indeed. There are many more outstanding bottlings to be found scattered thorughout the crus and I am sure that I am forgetting several worthy estates, but this at least will give you a good “to do” list to get started with the vintage. The only '09s I have tasted thus far are the Joseph Drouhin wines, which I tasted through in Beaune in March, and they are deep, sappy and beautifully soil-driven. If all the other top estates have made wines in this style, then this is indeed going to be a very special vintage for the region. But with the wines from Morgon and Moulin-a-Vent, you may do better trying a few bottles from either the 2006 or 2007 vintage if you can find them well-stored, as these are less structured vintages and both are beginning to really drink well from these villages.

Hope this helps.


Wow, thanks John. This is a post to save and refer back to. Thanks for the fantastic writeup. I drink as much or more Cru Beaujolais as anything else, and John covers most of my favorites. I also have recently enjoyed Daniel Bouland (a Weygandt import), Jean-Marc Burgaud, and Coquelet (I think Descombes’ nephew).

Ryan, John always provides great coverage of Beaujolais, amongst other regions, in his wine publication, View From the Cellar. Worth subscribing, imho, especially for regions like Beaujolais, the Loire and some others that many critics give shorter shrift.

Fantastic post John.

Looking forward to your beaujolais report in the next issue.

Oh - and '09 is not just hype, you must be thinking of '03 :wink:.

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t enjoyed wines from '08, '07, '06…

Excellent post John and thanks. I’m presuming Yvon Metras is 5 of 5 and sadly no longer interested in exporting?


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This is a wine region, and a delightful wine style, you should not overlook if you view wine as something to be drunk and enjoyed rather than traded in. It is also important to know that the style of Beaujolais has evolved quite considerably. The sort of wines sought out by quality-conscious importers are a long way from the pale pink concoctions that smell of pear drops, nail varnish remover and/or bananas that result from Gamay grapes fermented with feverish haste. Styles have evolved considerably over the past decade or so and the good wines have much more substance and extract, although they are rarely more than 13 per cent alcohol and are often less. They are more likely to have been made in much the same style as red burgundy from further north. In fact, an increasing number of producers based in the Côte d’Or, home of the smartest burgundies, have established operations in Beaujolais. Louis Jadot was one of the first with its acquisition of Ch des Jacques along with Nicolas Potel and his joint venture Potel-Aviron. Thibault Liger-Belair has followed them, as have the Henriot family, owners of Bouchard Père et Fils in Beaune. The family have high hopes for Ch Poncié in Fleurie, which they bought in 2008, renaming it Villa Ponciago.

Many of the most concentrated 2009s made in the Beaujolais region are not yet at their best, and it is only the lightest, most forward wines that I would recommend drinking already. Typically this means the best of the wines carrying the appellations Beaujolais from the flatter land that stretches north of Lyons and the higher, more granitic land that qualifies as Beaujolais-Villages. These are precisely the sort of wines that demonstrate the fatuity of applying numerical scores to something as visceral and subjective as wine appreciation. These are stupendous wines – but for early drinking rather than keeping. To what extent should they be penalised for their lack of suitability for dusty cellars and the saleroom? Discuss.

Most of the more “serious” wines are made in the villages, or crus, that have their own appellations. They are, very roughly in ascending order of body and ageability, Regnié, Chiroubles, Chénas, St-Amour, Fleurie, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent, whose most concentrated wines are traditionally said to become more and more like Pinot Noir-based red burgundy with age. There are some fine producers outside these hallowed blue-shaded hills, however, such as Jean-Paul Brun of Terres Dorées. And the quality of any Beaujolais, cru or not, depends on the skill and commitment of the producer, typically a family smallholder in this region, and the precise altitude, orientation and subsoil of the vineyard.

More and more fine Beaujolais is now sold with a specific vineyard name as well as an appellation, not unlike the heartland of Piedmont – Barolo and Barbaresco country, whose small hills and fragmented topography find an echo in the Beaujolais villages. Some of them, Côte de Py in Morgon, for instance, very obviously impose their strong mineral character on the wines grown there. But Beaujolais prices are but a fraction of those of a vineyard-designated Barolo.

The 2009 vintage was exceptional because the summer was delightfully warm without being too hot – and one defining characteristic of Beaujolais is its relatively high acidity, which, in a less ripe vintage, can be uncomfortably dominant but in 2009 is the most delightful complement to all that ripe, crunchy, mouth-watering fruit. When we spent a sunny afternoon in the Beaujolais hills on the last day of August, we fretted about missing our plane from Lyons as the narrow roads were already so encumbered by tractors trundling their loads of healthy purple grapes to various village cellars. So ripe were the grapes that the official start of Beaujolais harvest was unusually early.

I can’t imagine my wine life without Cru Beaujolais in it. I wouldn’t want to.
I haven’t had any 09s yet, but my must buys have been mentioned in this thread :
Domaine Terres Dorées and Domaine du Vissoux - I buy whatever cuvees they make, if I can find them.

You should also seek out the TNs of Florida Jim - I’ve never been disappointed with something he’s recommended.


he never was. He sells out in France. I visited and the wines are great, but the grey prices asked are a bit much. Since I have been ITB Metras has never been imported. circa 1998.

Envious of your visit. I thought Kermit Lynch imported it before 98? Fortunately, my wife has some business in Paris so those trips aren’t wasted. Know anything about Domaine Robert-Denogent?


Crush has the 08 Metras Fleurie VV on pre-arrival for $39.95. With so many wonderful Beuajolais available for less, I’ll pass, but just a heads-up for those interested.

It was a lovely visit although a bit long. Tasted '06 Fleurie, '06 Fleurie VV, '07 Fleurie VV, '06 Fleurie “L’Ultime” from vines planted in 1898. 2003 Fleurie “L’Ultime” and a crazy MAG of '97 Fleurie VV sans soufre. Ah also Fleurie VV '05.