Tag Archives: gamay

Chénas for shorter ageing

This is a wine that my local dealer said I must try. And I am glad I did!

Chénas is one of the northernmost crus of Beaujolais, it sits on sandy soils on granite, and like its neighbour Moulin-à-Vent it stands for quite structured wines.

Paul-Henri Thillardon, and his brother Charles (who joined his team some five years ago), come from a family of growers in the south of Beaujolais. The 13 Chénas hectars are all certified organic, and some biodynamic techniques are also employed. Always macération carbonic. The grapes for Les Blémonts grow on clay, and will always give a fresh taste to the wine.

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Chénas Les Blémonts 2015 (Paul-Henri Thillardon)

Purple colour. Cherry fruit, a light touch of orange peel, some earthy notes, mushroom, and a bit reductive. Good weight in the mouth, young tannins.

Price: Medium

Food: Veal, game, stews, hard cheeses

Antidote of London

You might think that Antidote could have something to do with the Remedy restaurant, about which I wrote a few months ago, at least their names could suggest so. But no. They have a few things in common though, they both offer a cure against depressive tendencies, and they offer well-prepared bites, and a lot of good, healthy wines – all worked organically, many biodynamically in the vineyard.

They rely on market catch, and the menu changes often. The food is quite simple, but well made, and often with both a modern touch and inspired by several corners of the world. The wine list is quite extensive, and there is a good selection of wines by the glass. They say that the wines come largely from France. That’s true, but I have spotted wines from other European countries like Italy, Spain and Slovenia, an occational one from Greece, and outside Europe too, such as Australia.

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I visited this cosy Soho locale twice in August, the first time with my daughter who is vegan, and they were very helpful, and gladly made some creative twists. Second time was the day after, when I had some more wines and a couple more bites.

Along with their “Heritage Tomato” dish (with lemon, lovage parsley and goat’s curd) I had Ch. la Coste “Pentes Douces 2014 (Ch. la Coste), a provencal blend of vermentino and sauvignon blanc: light in colour, a rich aroma with hints of herbs, and a slightly warm touch in the aftertaste. With next bite, Spring Onions with egg yolk, comté cheese and buckwheat, I tried Clef de Sol 2014 (La Grange Tiphaine) from Montlois sur Loire, a light, fruity, mineral chenin blanc, with a lot of acidity wrapped in super fruit. Following this with the same dish I tried what turned out to be one of the stars of the evening, Maupiti 2014 (Clos de l’Elu), a light red wine from Anjou, also in the Loire. This one is made from gamay and cabernet franc. It shows lots of red berries, it’s fresh and fruity, mellow in the mouth and just delicious drinking.

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La Poudre d’Escampette 2014 (from winery Le Casot des Mailloles) is a dry red wine from Banyuls, quite unusual for the area’s image as a dessert wine region. It’s made from 120 year old grenache and 80 year old carignan vines. An unpasturized camembert from Normandie was perfectly matched with the (to a certain extent volatile) acidity of the high-hill wine. A good match was also the ossau-iraty, a sheep’s milk cheese from French Basque Country.

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An unusual wine to round off maybe, but excellent there and then, was I Clivi RBL 2014, a biodynamically farmed, native yeast spumante brut nature from the grape known as ribolla gialla in Friuli, Italy, close to the Slovenian border. It was dry, but rounded off, fruity, a little carbonic-mineral, and nice for washing away what might remain of the fat from the cheeses.

Yesterday’s news (the best from Nouveau Thursday)

Yesterday was the third Thursday of November, also known as the day of the Beaujolais Nouveau release. Our readers will know that we (journalistic pluralis) love this style. And among the various nouveau wines we often prefer wines like Lapierre/Cambon (featured last November), Foillard (reported on a few times) were again among the best. Brun is also one of my favourite producers of the area, but has so far not been highlighted. This year I think he may have made the best of all nouveaux.

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Jean-Paul Brun’s winery is located in Charnay in the southern part of Beaujolais, a beautiful landscape with the golden stones that give the name to his estate.

Today he owns 45 hectares, mostly around the winery, but some in other crus and communes.
His winemaking philosophy can be summed up in a few words: natural yeasts, spontaneous fermentation, low SO2, traditional Beaujolais maceration.

Terres Dorées L’Ancien Beaujolais Nouveau 2016 (J.-P. Brun)

Ruby red. Berry-driven aroma, raspberry, and behind that, more mature morello, a hint of animal too. It has the full, luscious appeal that we expect of a nouveau, but it’s more structured than normal, with tannins and acidity in balance. Allow it to breathe in glass or carafe. Will keep well for a couple of years.

Price: Low

Food: Light meat, cod with bacon, hors d’oeuvre, pasta…

 

A gluggable Gamay, tralala

This is an all time favourite, a nice ‘n easy summer drink. I admit I don’t fully understand the name, but still I feel that it says it all – an invitation to drink, to sing and whistle.

François and Pascaline Plouzeau run their Domaine de la Garrelière, near the Richelieu village just outside Tours in the Loire valley. Here they follow strict biodynamic principles. The wines carry labels made by local artists that reflect the wines’ names.

The Gamay Sans Tralala is made from 100 gamay, and is fermented naturally. It’s just lovely, joyous, gluggable… Need I say more?

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Gamay Sans Tralala 2015 (Domaine de la Garrelière)

Delicious, light wine with aroma of berries and flowers, and a slight touch of spices. Luscious and fruity in the mouth, low in tannin, and with just enough acidity.

Price: Low

Food: Salads, light meat and some fish dishes too, but this joyous song doesn’t really need any accompaniment

 

Painting Beaujolais

Laurent Gauthier is another interesting grower in Beaujolais. Based in Villié-Morgon he consider himself lucky to live in, and live with, his vineyards, to ensure the sustainability of the project.

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He likens himself to a painter whose palette has many colours. There is only one basic ingredient, the gamay noir variety, but it is expressed differently according to the terroirs.

The family vines planted on a light slope and oriented east – south east.

This particular wine underwent a (for the area) traditional vinification, with 16 days of maceration with 80% whole bunches, and 9 months in big wooden vats.

Morgon Côte du Py 2014 (Laurent Gauthier)

Cherry red, on the dark side for a modern Beaujolais. Still smooth and elegant, it’s however also a bit tougher than the rest, not in acidity, but maybe in fullness and concentration due to the treatment (more batonnage) in the vats. The aftertaste is dominated by sweet fruits (I was also thinking about toffee, but I am not sure if I dare to write it – it disappeared with airing anyway).

Price: Low

Food: Try with light meat (chicken, rabbit), game, and salad dishes

 

A red Ganevat: brilliant as usual

Anne and Jean-François Ganevat continues to deliver fresh, fruity, and almost completely natural wines from their Jura property. This time I have tasted the new edition of their Cuvée Madelon Nature, the 2014 vintage. Gamay-dominated, it also contains 10% of poulsard and 10% trousseau. Only natural yeasts are used, and the wine is not fined, nor filtered, and has not been added SO2.

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Cuvée Madelon Nature 2014 (A. & J.-F. Ganevat)

Light coloured red with blueish rim. Smells of red fruits, some blueberry. Very juicy, grapey in the mouth, with low tannin, moderately high acidity, maybe a slight touch of brett (but so what?); simply delicious!

Price: Medium

Food: Light meat, pizza, pasta, white fish

 

Serious Beaujolais

Jean Foillard was one of the disciples of Jules Chauvet, one of the fathers of modern natural wine. Foillard’s Morgons are from nearly 100 year old vines from the family domain grown on granite and schist soils. They are made according to strictly organic principles and with very little SO2, but there is nothing «strange» about them, and I suppose anyone can like them. Though accessible and delicious when young they have an ageing potential of several years too. They undergo a traditional whole cluster beaujolais fermentation for 3 or 4 weeks. Then are aged in old barrels, but oaky is clearly not a word to describe these wines.

 

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Jean Foillard Morgon 2013

Young red colour, dark for a beaujolais. Lovely perfumed scent of raspberries and cherries. Delicious, juicy taste, still good concentration and just a slight touch of tannin. Good length. Complete finesse – Serious fun!

Price: Low