Blind Tasting 01-30-14By
Yes another Blind Tasting…..another opportunity to learn…to better understand what good wine can be……AND hopefully get better at listening what the wine wants to say….especially on this quality level.
2011 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais
I often wonder what “good” Beaujolais tasted like in the 1960’s & earlier. From what I have heard & read, it was light in color, hazy, tart, often fizzy & somewhere between 9 & 11 degrees in alcohol. ( I would have loved to wash down bites of VINO Chef Keith’s grilled home-made Shinsato Farms pork sauages with a glass or 2 of that style of wine.) Since then, somewhere along the line, warm vintage Beaujolais became popular. It was more substantial & had more to say. I surmize because Beaujolais (& Burgundy in general) typically had such sun drenched vintages only 2 to 3 times every decade, they looked to chaptalization (the addition of sugar) to help beef up the wines. What may have started out to be noble, became quite the “quick” fixer over time, to the point of abuse.
I really look to search out good Beaujolais. Why? The good ones have delicious-ness, incredible food friendliness & gulpability….& are therefore worth the effort. So….for these students we poured this 2011 from Domaine Dupeuble on this night. Nothing fancy here…..just light & delicious red “country” styled wine. Yes, we have run across a growing number of really good Cru Beaujolais, which have more stuffing & much more to say…..BUT in terms of simplicity, honesty, “country”ness & pure gulpability, here is the one for me.
“In the hamlet of Le Breuil, deep in the southern Beaujolais and perched above a narrow creek, the Domaine Dupeuble has been running almost continuously since 1512. Tradition runs deep in the family, the estate is comprised of one hundred hectares, about forty percent of which is consecrated to vineyards. Strong advocates of the lutte raisonnée approach to vineyard work, they tend their vines without the use of any chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. The vineyards, planted primarily to Gamay, face Southeast, South, and Southwest, and about two thirds of the property is on granite-based soil. The grapes are harvested manually and vinified completely without SO2. The wines are not chaptalized, filtered, or degassed and only natural yeasts are used for the fermentation“.
2011 Maison L’Envoye Morgon “Cote du Py”
There is a reason why we poured this wine next. It is thankfully another really delicious, lighter bodied, food friendly & gulpable Beaujolais…to be enjoyed. Fortunately, there is a growing number of top notch CRU Beaujolais. I really like this relatively new discovery because of how light, delicious & gulpable it really is, yet has more to say than the Dupeuble.
“Morgon typically produces hearty, expressive, long living Gamay, with the finest vineyards being situated along the Côte de Py. And it’s here that 40 year old vines are planted in schist soils, rich in manganese & iron. This soil structure provides a minerally edge to the raspberry & dark red fruit characters typically seen. The fruit was destemmed & the whole berries were allowed to undergo a long, natural fermentation (utilizing wild yeast) & was then aged for 12 months in older French oak. This is no insipid Beaujolais” .
2012 Nicole Chanrion Cote de Brouilly
We next served a highly revered, top echelon superstar Cru Beaujolais. Tasting & understanding this true standout will hopefully show tasters what Beaujolais can be, which is a style we will hopefully see more & more of. Wines passionately grown & crafted like this have much presence & resounding character.
“The Côte-de-Brouilly appellation sits on the hillsides of Mont Brouilly, a prehistoric volcano that left blue schist stones and volcanic rock along its slopes. These stones yield structured wines with pronounced minerality and great aging potential. Nicole works all 6.5 hectares entirely by herself, from pruning the vineyards and driving the tractors to winemaking and bottling, all without bravado or fanfare. Wild yeast fermented, whole cluster, carbonic maceration”.
2011 Olivier Savary Bourgogne “Epineuil”
We now shifted gears & sought to showcase 3 Pinot Noirs from Burgundy, each from a different sub-region. Hopefully, this would make tasters contemplate possible regional differences when tasting, rather than just lumping all of Burgundy together under one heading. This is just another way of better listening what the wine wants to say.
This particular wine comes from Chablis in the northern most reaches of Burgundy. Pure limestone & super cool weather. I had previously had just a few Pinots from there & most had very little color to them. Here is a captivating rendition–wonderfully ethereal, remarkably light & seemingly fragile.
The final pair of red Burgundies were produced by Evening Land Vineyards, a very comprehensive Pinot project using top quality grapes sourced from Oregon, Sonoma Coast, extreme Santa Barbara & in this case Burgundy, France. Utilizing the talents of FOUR winemakers, this visionary wine project is changing the game.
The intent here was to show/remind tasters, there is a difference between Burgundy’s Cote de Beaune to the south & the Cote de Nuits to the north, as the wines were from the same vineyards & the same winemakers.
2009 Evening Land Beaune Premier Cru “Bressandes”–Premier Cru Cote de Beaune, 20% new oak
2009 Evening Land Vosne Romanee–Village quality Cotes de Nuits—from 3 separate vineyards, 18 months in 30% new oak.
As a side note, we recently heard that the trio of suoerstar sommelier/restauranteur Rajat Parr, star winemaker Sashi Moorman & business entrepeneur Charles Banks will now be running the show. Should be even more interesting, to say the least!