The monthly blind tasting group I host ventured into Beaujolais this week, tasting pairs of the same wines from 2009 and 2015 – the ripest and most hyped of recent vintages.
Apart from one badly corked bottle, the wines were all good. But I thought the 09s should probably be drunk up. The fruit has lost some freshness and there isn’t much acid or tannin there to sustain them. I don’t see any reason to think these four 09s will get any better. No point in taking a risk they’ll lose their current charm.
The 15s really shone – great fruit plus fresh acidity. I didn’t taste enough 09s on release to compare, but the 15s seem to have very good structure. That was John Gilman’s take – that they have more backbone than the 09s.
The wines were selected to contrast soil types, ripeness and fermentations (carbonic vs. traditional), per the table below.
The background on the producers comes from the person who organized the tasting.
The wines were decanted into pouring bottles right before the tasting and consumed over about 90 minutes with food.
Terres Dorees (Jean-Paul Brun) - Morgon – From old vines in Grand Cras, a relatively high-altitude vineyard with poor and sandy (even by Beaujolais standards) granite-derived soils. Fully destemmed, no carbonic maceration; native yeasts. Tends to be structured and more difficult to drink upon release.
2009: Little on the nose. Little flavor at first, but it slowly opens up, perhaps reflecting the conventional fermentation. This got markedly better in the glass. I suspect some on the group didn’t revisit it.
Group #7 / My #4.
2015: Red currents all over the nose. Bright red fruit in the mouth, dominated by sour cherry. Gets hard and less charming with air, though. The fruit seems to vanish and the finish seems to get more tannic. Perhaps it needs time.
Group #5/6 / My #7.
Guy Breton - Morgon Vielles Vignes – From old vines in Grand Cras and St. Joseph. Breton’s style is significantly less ripe than the other producers here – he’s known for lower alcohol levels and less fruity wines.
2009: Red currants on the nose. Nice red fruits, very smooth, but less fresh and crisp, and it fades in the glass. Some oxidation shows on day 2 in the refrigerated leftovers. Drink up!
Group #4 / My #3.
2015: Stunning bouquet of sweet raspberries and strawberries. By far the most compelling nose. A trace of carbonic bubblegum. In the mouth, the fruit is ripe and it’s full bodied.
Group #2 / My #5.
Marcel Lapierre - Morgon – Marcel Lapierre died in 2010, so while the 2009 was made by Marcel Lapierre himself, the 2015 was made by his children. Organic farming, semi-carbonic maceration and low or no sulfur added.
2009: Nice, jammier berries on the nose. Spicy in the mouth. Round. Just lovely, chewy, luscious, but for me a little overshadowed by a some of the others. Perhaps a bit of oak? This held its own on day 2.
Group #1 / My #6
2015: Corked, corked, corked. Uggh. A pity, because it seemed like this might actually be the most impressive wine in the line-up underneath the TCA. There is a boatload of fruit behind the wet cardboard. Group #8/ My #8.
Clos de la Roilette / Alain Coudert - Fleurie – From Fleurie, on the border of Moulin-a-Vent, where there is much more clay, the characteristic terroir of Moulin-a-Vent. The style is otherwise similar to Lapierre and Breton : semi-carbonic, native yeasts. Because of the clay, the wines are a bit more structured and pinot-like than in Morgon. This was Coudert’s basic cuvee.
These were my two favorites, and they both hold up a day or two later.
2009: Deep, darker fruit profile on the nose and in the mouth – black cherries, dark plums. Full bodied and round. Rich, ripe but balanced and fresh. “Yum!” I wrote.
Group #3 / My #2
2015: Also darker fruit. In the mouth it’s taut. Good fruit, but fresh and not overripe. It really opens up on the finish, with a lingering taste of intense black cherry. This is a keeper. It is still delicious on day 3 from the fridge.
Group #5/6 / My #1
In case you have trouble downloading the table, the substance is:
Fermentation - Ripeness - Soils
Brun: Traditional - Medium - Sand
Breton: Carbonic - Lower - Sand
Lapierre: Carbonic - Higher - Sand
Roilette: Carbonic - Medium - Clay
Bojo table.pdf (5.65 KB)