• Old Vine Transcendence:  2018 Alex Foillard Beaujolais-Villages

    Old Vine Transcendence: 2018 Alex Foillard Beaujolais-Villages

    We sold out very quickly of Alex Foillard's 2016 and 2017 Brouilly, and today I've received some great, timely news, that his 2018 Beaujolais-Villages is ready.

    This cuvée comes from Alex's oldest vines (70-yrs-old) from an east-facing lieu dit, Saint Ennemond. Fermentation and aging in concrete exclusively. Very limited number of pumpovers here, just once every few days. Like the wines of his father, Jean Foillard, Alex's are about satin-texture and loaded with spice, and of course most importantly they are supremely drinkable in their downright deliciousness.

    Thus far, there's a lot of anticipation for the 2018's in Beaujolais. It is a warm vintage with heat spikes throughout July and August, but unlike 2015 the amount of spring rain was very high, and therefore the vines were well positioned in summer with ample ground water in reserve. In short, the 2018's are fleshy and ripe with very good acidity and a fresh streak that was missing in the more forward-style of 2015. The east-facing Saint Ennemond was a great vineyard purchase with the increasing temperatures in mind, and 2018 proves that even in years with many 100+ degree days, exposure can mitigate a lot.

    Alex Foillard's wines are new to the scene and come in very tiny quantities, even relative to his father's small production. I'm very happy today to offer this small parcel from the oldest vines in the hands of the region's most exciting newcomer.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • 2018 Dutraive Off-the-Grid:  Saint-Amour, Chénas, & Fleurie

    2018 Dutraive Off-the-Grid: Saint-Amour, Chénas, & Fleurie

    2018 in Beaujolais marks a much-needed return for growers to good yields and very high quality with a dry harvest. The last couple vintages have not been kind for vignerons in each of these areas. Massive amounts of spring rain actually proved a blessing as July and August heatwaves came next, meaning reserves of accumulated ground water was more than sufficient during through this stretch. 2018 is a ripe vintage for sure, but as compared to the bombastic 2015's, the alcohol is lower, acidity higher, and freshness a big part of the finished product.

    As compared to other titans of Cru Beaujolais, Foillard and Lapierre, I find Dutraive's often lighter in color, with a more concentrated, lifted spice, and a more wild natural element that stands out from the pack due to his lower sulphur protocol. Waiting several years after release to get into top cuvées has been a big goal of mine, as the rare aged Dutraive is pure magic when fruit begins to fall more to the background and exotic spices become more prominent.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Beaujolais in Blue:  2018 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly

    Beaujolais in Blue: 2018 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly

    Thivin's Côte de Brouilly has been a staple in our Cru Beaujolais category since day one. The value at $31 per bottle is always refreshing as pricing for top producers in the region continue to climb. These 50-yr-old vines are situated in as unique a location as any in Beaujolais, here on blue volcanic soil and an unusually steep 48% grade slope. There's a blue-fruited quality to the Gamay that leads one to believe terroir can impart an extremely obvious sense of place.

    2018 is an exciting vintage for the region, with the hot summer not bringing a roasted or jammy quality as we often saw in years like 2015 and 2009. The abundant spring rains kept these soils hydrated through the stress of summer heat spikes, and in turn, the wines show fleshy, full-bodied fruit with an unmistakable acid-streak and pronounced minerality.

    Château Thivin’s roots date back to the 15th century. But, it was in 1877 when Zaccharie Geoffrey purchased the 2-hectare estate at auction that Thivin began as we know it today. His grandson, Claude was pivotal in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation during the great depression. And now his grandnephew, also Claude, his wife Evelyn, and their son Claude-Edouard are behind production of this benchmark Côte de Brouilly. Kermit Lynch visited the domaine during his first trip on the wine route with Richard Olney in 1976.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • 2018 Dutraive Fleurie:  Cuvée Champagne, Le Clos V.V. & More!

    2018 Dutraive Fleurie: Cuvée Champagne, Le Clos V.V. & More!

    2018 in Beaujolais marks a much-needed return for growers to good yields and very high quality with a dry harvest. The last couple vintages have not been kind for vignerons in each of these areas. Massive amounts of spring rain actually proved a blessing as July and August heatwaves came next, meaning reserves of accumulated ground water was more than sufficient during through this stretch. 2018 is a ripe vintage for sure, but as compared to the bombastic 2015's, the alcohol is lower, acidity higher, and freshness a big part of the finished product.

    Today, I'm happy to turn to Jean-Louis Dutraive's top range from Fleurie. Yields may be improved, but alas, this is Dutraive. Demand always outweighs supplies.

    As compared to other titans of Cru Beaujolais, Foillard and Lapierre, I find Dutraive's often lighter in color, with a more concentrated, lifted spice, and a more wild natural element that stands out from the pack due to his lower sulphur protocol. Waiting several years after release to get into top cuvées has been a big goal of mine, as the rare aged Dutraive is pure magic when fruit begins to fall more to the background and exotic spices become more prominent.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • The Clos de la Roilette Fleurie:  Cuvée Tardive & Griffe du Marquis

    The Clos de la Roilette Fleurie: Cuvée Tardive & Griffe du Marquis

    The opportunity to taste the best of Cru Beaujolais with age is, unfortunately, a rare treat. By nature, the juicy and supremely approachable Gamay-based wines are most commonly opened within a year of their release. 31 tables at the Rainbow Room for a La Paulée Verticals Tasting were filled with the best of Burgundy - RoumierLafon,RousseauMugneret-GibourgD'Angerville, and one sole Cru Beaujolais: the Clos de la Roilette of Fleurie.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the two top wines of the domaine, the 2017 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive and the 2016 Griffie Du Marquis. Both complete with a small group of magnums.

    The wines of the Coudert family are best known for their unrivaled complexity and track record of aging brilliantly. Set alongside Burgundy's most elite at La Paulée, the chance to taste different vintages side-by-side was a great reminder that the best of Cru Beaujolais greatly rewards the patient.

    The story of Roilette's evolution in a fascinating one. The vineyards were historically classified as Moulin-à-Vent, and its owners proud of that designation. But, in the 1920's districts were re-drawn and the Fleurie appellation was created. This new-found appellation required to adorn labels enraged the owner of the Clos de Roilette. Instead of printing Fleurie in large text across the center of the label he chose to use a photo of his racehorse, and refused to sell his wines in France, exporting 100% of his production to neighboring countries.

    In 1967 ownership had changed hands, and this now largely untended vineyard went into the thoughtful control of Fernand Coudert. Today, the wines are widely regarded as the benchmark of not only Fleurie, but the entire Beaujolais region.

    The border of Moulin-à-Vent and Fleurie where the estate is located is home to clay-dominant vineyards. Whereas most of Beaujolais is on granite, the clay and manganese soils of Roilette give a darker and richer expression of Gamay. Blue and black fruits are abundant in all of the estate's wines. 

    The Cuvée Tardive is the top wine of the estate, aged in large foudre. It's sourced from the oldest vines, 80-90 years in age. In each passing year the Tardive shows increasing elegance and begins to more closely resemble Pinot Noir. In blind tastings many times Beaujolais with 10+ years is nearly indistinguishable from Burgundy.At under $40 per bottle this wine personifies the value available in Cru Beaujolais.

    The Griffe du Marquis is the rare breed in this stable. It is sourced from vines planted in the 1930's and was first seen with the 2009 vintage. Aged exclusively in smaller Burgundy barrels, of which age ranges between 2 to 6 years. As compared to Cuvée Tardive, the Griffe du Marquis has a greater sense of levity and brightness, and a tannin profile that is a a bit more fine.

    The Fleurie is the most approachable wine of the trio upon release, and taps 30-45 yr-old vines. Aged in large foudre.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen