After running into some old friends at the afternoon Produttori tasting, I happily attended their group’s 2005 Cru Beaujolais tasting that night.
We started with two blind whites, the first something I was able to pick out after tasting and noting it here recently. The 2005 J.M. Raffault Chinon Blanc was again nice if not stellar. It’s more sauvignon in character than chenin, but it’s a good value.
The second white was hard to pick. I started at a ripe, dry Loire chenin blanc. But someone else guessed southern Rhone white and I immediately agreed. Straw colored, ripe and nicely precise but still bold and rich mostly roussane wine. This turned out to be the 2002 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape blanc, probably picked before the rain and quite good.
Then six 2005 Cru Beaujolais tasted blind, all “Cru” bottlings meaning coming from vineyards in any of the ten most respected villages, all of them adjacent to one another in the northern part of the Beaujolais region. Overall, these were excellent examples of gamay, all fresh and clean but with terrific earthiness balancing the sweet fruit. I would happily drink and probably cellar any of these for the five to ten years.
All the wines were deep ruby purple in color. The first was the most overtly sweet smelling of the bunch, purple fruited, focused with dark earth noties in time. Finely tannic in the mouth with gummy raspberry and lightly spicy fruit flavors, sterner with time but still lush and fruity. This was the Joel Rochette Regnie Cuvee des Braves Vieilles Vignes.
Second, a more raw smelling, broader even a little buttery fragrance, probably the least fruity of the lot. Crisp acid with fine tannin, red raspberry fruit, nice but hard edged through the finish, needs time. This is the Domaine Diochon Moulin-a-Vent V.V.
Then another dark, cleanly earth smelling wine with deep rich black fruit. In the mouth, this one has softer acid, fine tannins like the others, some gummy fruit like the first wine, in the words of our host, “big and lucious.” This was the Laurent Gauthier “Chatenay” Chiroubles V.V.
The fourth wine was a bit odd at first, with pasty dough and some alcohol, but opened to show more earthy but clean complixty. In the mouth, it’s finely tannic, even hard with a slight herbal edge, peppery and leaner than the others but still good if not my favorite. This was the Clos de la Roilette Fleury, and when it was unveiled I thought I should have known this one. Very typical to my expeience with this producer.
Fifth, a nicely earthy with sweet fruit but a savory, beguiling element to its fragrance that I loved. Again, finely tannic with nice red and black fruit, crisp acids, this is a focused, precise wine with a nice taste of the soil. I wrote that I “love” it so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find it was the Champs-Grillés St. Amour, my first time tasting wine from this village of love.
Finally, a peppery wine with more soil and black fruit aromas. In the mouth, this was big and rich with fine tannin, slightly gummy ripe fruit but that signature earthiness of Beaujolais, really nice but more stern with time. This was the Pascal Aufranc Juliénas.
All in all, these are pretty ripe for the appellation but just terrific wine. For their largely sub-$20 prices, they are extremely worthwhile. We had some roasted chicken after tasting though these blind, and every wine just tasted terrific with the food. I just sat there and marvelled at how much I liked all of them.
Of course, I had to pick a favorite with this group and was then mocked for choosing the Champs-Grillés.
Now, where’s the love?