• Carnal Knowledge: 2019 Pierre Cotton Côte de Brouilly

    Carnal Knowledge: 2019 Pierre Cotton Côte de Brouilly

    Pierre Cotton is a name in Beaujolais that deserves a close look from Cru Beaujolais purists and the ultra natural-focused crowd alike. The Wine Advocate's William Kelley once dubbed Cotton's wines as "carnal," an apt descriptor for these unique wines that have pushed the limits of how raw Gamay can be.

    Pierre and Marine jumped at the chance to acquire La Chapelle, a small parcel at the very top of the Côte de Brouilly; this is the highest elevation vineyard in the appellation, located just before the small chapel at the top of the hill in Odenas. It is a supremely elegant Gamay with the same unique blue diorite terroir found in Les Grilles but at a higher altitude.

    The wines are raw and feral yet exhibit the same satin texture and layered complexity you're likely to find in a bottle of Foillard or Lapierre. Alongside Yann Bertrand and Alex Foillard, Pierre Cotton is leading the new generation of Cru Beaujolais vignerons.

    Shop Pierre Cotton Wines

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • 2019 Cru Beaujolais

    2019 Cru Beaujolais

    If 2009 was the watershed moment for Cru Beaujolais, then 2019 is a fitting vintage to compare to, now, ten years later. 2009's hot growing season naturally brought forward a bold, full, and ripe personality to the wines. This style pulled in many new Bojo drinkers, myself included.

    Today, Cru Bojo fans are crossing their fingers annually in hopes of a relatively cool growing season that results in wild herbs, snappy, tart red fruit, and a pronounced mineral spine. Moving forward, 2019 is as good as it gets, folks. It was a hot growing season, but vignerons are much better-suited today to handle the threats from drought and burn. What stands out here versus recent vintages is a real sense of underlying tension that gives these a crisp form.

    If you have to pick one producer who nailed this vintage's cooler-side-of-the-pillow potential, it is Guy Breton. Home to arguably the most graceful style of the region, Guy, better known as P'tit Max by his friends, is always one to pick on the earlier side and limit extraction, ensuring levity and freshness are the prime markers of his wines.

    While some love the bursting Beaujolais style, the below producers are my favorites in 2019, having dug deep to find the most classic examples of the vintage!

    Shop all 2019 Beaujolais wines

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Dutraive's Brightest Light

    Dutraive's Brightest Light

    Jean-Louis Dutraive's entire stable of wines falls into the elite category of Cru Beaujolais. And while he has various parcels in Fleurie, the wine that always thrills me for its lightness and more ethereal pitch is the Clos de la Grand Cour cuvée.

    The Clos de la Grand Cour is a true Clos, or walled-in vineyard. The vines here range between 30 to 80 years old. Nearly pure granite under very thin topsoil. Aged 35% in stainless steel, 30% in fûts de chêne, and 30% foudres for 9 to 12 months. Lifted spices meet fresh raspberry and cherry to give a delicate wine but with deep texture and a long finish.

    The big story of 2019 Beaujolais is that, despite another hot growing season, there is a serious beam of acidity running through the wines. For many, this has called to mind Jean-Louis Dutraive's watershed 2014 vintage. Of course, 2014 didn't see the hot temperatures of 2019, but the balance between fruit and acid is spot-on in both. These are the vintages where Dutraive shines and makes his brilliance abundantly clear.

    As compared to other titans of Beaujolais, like Foillard and Lapierre, I find Dutraive's wines often lighter in color, with a more lifted spice, and a more wild, natural element that stands out due to lower sulfur protocol. Waiting several years after release to tap into the top cuvées has been a big goal of mine. The rare aged Dutraive is pure magic when fruit begins to fall more to the background and exotic spices become more prominent.

    Click here to shop Dutraive wines

     

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Fleurie's Queen of Hearts

    Fleurie's Queen of Hearts

    In a very short time, Julien Sunier has become one of our favorite producers in a region full of unbelievably talented vignerons. Sunier, originally from Dijon, has worked with wineries all over the globe. You can't help but be reminded of the wines of Chambolle-Musigny when you try his Fleurie, due to their haunting grace and depth. He actually sources his neutral barrels from iconic Chambolle producer, Christophe Roumier, where he first worked.

    Fleurie, by all accounts, is one of the most feminine of the 10 Crus of Beaujolais and referred to as the Queen of Beaujolais commonly. Julien practices organic viticulture and employs 100% whole cluster fermentation of Gamay. His wines are outrageously floral, elegant, energetic, and are capable of developing in the cellar for years after release.

    Visiting with Julien in 2012 put his new domaine on my radar, and over the years since then, I've watched them gain traction with Cru Beaujolais fanatics. His 2019 release raises the bar again. Do not miss Sunier's Fleurie, one that has been a staple of Kogod Wine Merchant since we opened in 2015.

    The Wine Advocate's William Kelley on 2019 Julien:

    "As I wrote last year, Julien Sunier established his own small Beaujolais domaine in 2008 after a stint working with Christophe Roumier in Chambolle-Musigny, and he has rapidly emerged as one of the region's new star producers. Committed to organic farming from the beginning, whole-cluster fermentation in cement vats at low temperature followed by élevage in used Burgundy barrels are the rudiments of his approach. The style is supple, elegant and perfumed, emphasizing grace and charm, and all the cuvées reviewed here come, once again, warmly recommended."

    Click here to shop Julien Sunier wines

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • "N" Marks the Spot: 2019 Lapierre Non-Sulfured Morgon

    I will always beat the drum for the new vintage of Lapierre Morgon, but when the non-sulphured cuvée is available for California I'm on cloud nine. No producer in Beaujolais surpasses Lapierre's satin texture and explosively juicy Gamay fruit.

    In some years the fruit is deemed to be ideal to exclude sulphur additions during each phase from harvest through fermentation, aging, and bottling. The risky proposition for others has been mastered over the years by Lapierre, and the Morgon from this estate is the model of soundness within this ultra-delicate framework.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2019 Lapierre release.

    2019 is the most exciting vintage in Morgon since 2016, harnessing the energy of that vintage with the intensity of fruit that warmer vintages bring. This is precisely the kind of vintage that I go deep on with Lapierre for my personal cellar.

    The non-sulphured cuvée that's commonly only available in California exuberates Gamay's bright strawberry fruit and granitic mineral core without any restraints. This is Lapierre in high-definition.

    The historical significance of Marcel Lapierre is firmly ingrained into the history books of French winemaking. Since 2010, Marcel's children Matthieu and Camille have carried on the natural approach that had placed their father in the hearts of winemakers and enthusiasts across the globe.

    Marcel Lapierre took over the domaine in 1973 from his father, and in 1981 his encounter with Jules Chauvet set him on a course that would literally change the world of wine. Chauvet's strong words against using pesticides, herbicides, and cultured yeasts launched a shift toward natural viticulture and winemaking in Beaujolais. And along with Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet, the Gang of Four was unofficially founded. Their practices spread quickly and the proof in the pudding made clear this natural route was one that yielded wines of authenticity and joie de vivre.

    Posted by Max Kogod