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Jefford on Monday: Beaujolais pride

“Thank God for 2015!” I was in Villefranche, chatting with Jean Bourjade, the Director of Inter-Beaujolais at the beginning of this month, and it was when I asked about 2015 that he broke into that English expostulation. The quality of the cru wines from that vintage is outstanding (see a selection of tasting notes below), and it seems to have come at the right time for the region as it slowly lifts itself out of the doldrums which saw 6,000 ha uprooted over the last decade and a half. There’s nothing like a good vintage to put wind in the sails.

“According to Bourjade, Beaujolais has just spent a million euros on the most comprehensive soil study ever undertaken by a single region. This is being carried out by the Isère-based Sigales (a company which has carried out similar vineyard studies in Switzerland, as well as for Mâcon, Savoie and the Rhône regions), and it’s involved taking over 6,000 soil core samples as well as digging 600 different trenches all over the region since 2010. At least 1500 Beaujolais growers have got involved in meetings connected with the study, and each of the ten crus now has a much more comprehensive soil map than those formerly available. The study is concluding with further research in the Beaujolais-Villages and Beaujolais zone at present… “

The Beaujolais 2015 vintage

“The growing season, growers reported, unfolded according to the script they would have written for themselves – except that quantities were smaller than they would have liked. The main threat to quality came towards the end of July, when the vines were beginning to show signs of drought stress, but cooler nights and showers in August helped enormously, with most beginning harvest towards the end of that month. Acidities were fresher and balances livelier than in 2009, while the wines avoided some of the hardness of 2005, with a sweeter and more tender style. Beaujolais vinifications are so various and sometimes risk-taking in style, however, that it’s still important to buy on recommendation; my January Villefranche tasting revealed disappointments as well as great buys (some notes were made during an earlier visit in October 2015)… “

Moulin-à-Vent, Ch du Moulin-a-Vent 2015
“The aromas of this 2015 are finely composed already: fresh red and black fruits, and a gentle honeyed sweetness to balance out that freshness and give it some filling warmth. On the palate, this is complex, fine-meshed midweight with deftly woven fruits, currants and spices. An exercise in unforced grace from a vintage in which it was easy to push all the buttons.”

Read the full article here

 

Andrew Jefford, January 30, 2017
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Jefford on Monday: Beaujolais pride