For those of you still unacquainted, Quentin Harel is the latest addition to our Beaujolais portfolio. His wines first caught our eyes—or rather, our noses—when I chanced upon a bottle of his Morgon, a perfumed little beauty that stood no chance after being uncorked at the family dinner table one summer evening. Around the same time, my colleague Dixon informed me he had tasted a particularly juicy, downable Beaujolais-Villages from a young grower. Upon comparing notes, we realized Quentin was the man behind both bottles. As it turned out, he had recently taken the reins of the family domaine and begun making Beaujolais just the way we like it: farmed organically, vinified naturally with whole clusters, and bottled with minimal added sulfur. The nose, the palate, and the price encourage unbridled quaffing.
Anybody expecting the stereotypical light, easygoing Beaujolais is in for a surprise here. The 2017 harvest was drastically reduced in quantity by a violent spring hailstorm, followed by hot, dry weather that further concentrated the remaining grapes. Add old vines and Moulin-à-Vent’s terroir—known for giving powerful, long-lived wines—to the equation, and you end up with this dense, stony red, jam-packed with savory, sanguine accents, an almost creamy mid-palate perked up by fresh acidity, and a long finish redolent of sucking on a cherry pit. Gamay can flex its muscles, too!
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