Once again, our Beaujolais producers have delivered a remarkable crop of delicious, terroir-driven wines at reasonable prices, each a distinct expression of one of Beaujolais’s crus. There are no generic blends here, no regional cuvées. These are honest-to-God small-production, “grand cru” Beaujolais, as Kermit likes to say. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they do.
Even in the richest vintages, Breton’s wines retain an amazing freshness and purity, and his seductively earthy Chiroubles is no exception. This small, sandy parcel of sixty-year-old vines is a more recent addition to the domaine, and it yields a softer, more reserved counterpoint to Breton’s iconic Morgon.
As ever, Nicole Chanrion delivers a delicious cru Beaujolais at a Beaujolais-Villages price. The hillside vineyard on the ancient volcano Mont Brouilly gives a flawless balance of tannin, acidity, and juicy Gamay fruit. I think this is the Mary Poppins of Beaujolais: practically perfect in every way.
Cédric Chignard’s chewy Juliénas is the darkest wine in this group, with the firm spine that comes from old vines in hard, rocky terrain. When you’re in the shop, look for the black gothic label. It matches the wine.
Velvety. Exotic. Funky. Vibrant. Sanguineous. Wild. As the son of Gang of Four legend Jean-Paul Thévenet, Charly certainly has the pedigree to play it safe, but this wine shows that he is doing anything but.
With its beguiling floral aromatics, freshness, and grip, the 2018 Reverdon has all the poise and finesse we’ve come to expect from this nearly 150-year-old domaine. What’s their secret? Perhaps it’s the vineyard’s hillside location (most of the Brouilly appellation is flat). Perhaps it’s the Geoffray family’s staunch adherence to traditional farming and vinification. Perhaps it’s doing a thing for a century and a half until it’s as natural as breathing.
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