Monday, May 12, 2008

By the Glass - 2006 Beaujolais Edition

I'm a big fan of the 2006 vintage in Beaujolais. What I love about the '06s so far, aside from their sheer deliciousness, is their transparency - they are so clearly and unmistakably Beaujolais. The more experienced among us (not me in this case) would probably take this a step further and say "that wine is unmistakably Morgon," or Fleurie, or Chiroubles, or what have you.

I don't know enough to be able to say things like that. But when I say unmistakably Beaujolais, I mean that the wines are ripe and vibrant with fruit, spicy, there is a fleeting sense of soil underneath everything, the acidity is refreshing but not the most prominent aspect of the wine, and there is that something, that unique Beaujolais aroma and flavor, that young, loaded with potential energy, just graduated from college, about to take over the world quality. Hard to describe - taste them yourself and you'll see.

Here are a few notes on the 2006 Beaujolais that I've had so far. I'm only including the wines that I've had with dinner, nothing from tastings:

2006 Domaine du Vissoux Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvée Traditionnelle, $15, Weygandt-Metzler. Lean, taught, racy. Ripe fruit competes with lively acidity and spicy mouth aromas. This is, to me, the essence of Beaujolais, and it's a pleasure to drink. Although it's certainly lovely on its own, a meal induces this beauty to slip into something more comfortable.

2006 Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Cuvée l'Ancien Vieilles Vignes, $15, Louis/Dressner selections. What I'm about to say might make some of you angry, although that is definitely not my aim. I actually prefer this wine to the 2005. YES, it's true - this wine is so completely wonderful, it's hard to describe by typing keys on a computer. I know you love the 05, and I liked it too, but it was almost too intense for me. This is lean, pure, quiet and soft Beaujolais beauty. But it's powerful too, like one of those skinny Sumo wrestlers. Fruity and floral with lip smacking acidity, there is excellent length, and it's a bit spicy. It feels energetic in the mouth. It goes with anything - I had it recently with spaghetti with clam sauce and everyone was happy. Maybe in its prime drinking window right now, too. And get it while you can, because only a third of Brun's 2007's can be labeled as Beaujolais, according to the wise folks at the French INAO. And changing the name of the wine will most assuredly change your perception of it's flavor and quality.

2006 Guy Breton Morgon Vieille Vignes, $21, Kermit Lynch Imports. My first Breton, one of the 'Gang of Four' natural wine producers of Morgon. This one, to me, was a case of too natural for its own good. I kept waiting for the brett to blow off, but it never did, really. There was some pretty red berry fruit and baking spices, but not a whole lot else going on other than the funk. Not something I would re-buy.

2006 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette, $22, Louis/Dressner Selections. Incredibly floral and fresh smelling, with plenty of freshly crushed strawberries. Just a wonderful nose. Tannins still a bit prominent on the palate - this will benefit from a few months in the bottle. Delicious nonetheless, with a great balance of fresh fruit, apple skins, flowers, and earth. In terms of immediate and hedonistic pleasure, this is my favorite of the vintage so far. Although I haven't yet tasted the Coudert Cuvée Tardive...

2006 George Descombes Régnié, $18, Louis/Dressner Selections. 6 months ago in my end-of-the-year 2007 best-of post I said this was my favorite Cru Beaujolais of the year. Most '06s hadn't been released at that point, but I'll stand by calling this a fantastic bottle of wine. Ripe red and black fruit, flowers, fine grained tannins, this is deep and excellent wine that improves with time in the glass. There is more than meets the eye to this one.

2006 George Descombes Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes, $28, Louis/Dressner Selections. Yes, folks, we are in the age of $28 Beaujolais. In the case of the top bottles, anyway. Lyle loves this wine. I'm not sure yet where I stand on this. It's clearly delicious wine, with deeply pitched and well structured fruit, many layers to reveal. Even on the nose, the wine has layers of complexity. In a way it feels more like drinking Burgundy than Beaujolais. I'm not sure that's what I want when I drink Beaujolais. I need to drink another bottle of this, maybe decant next time.

15 comments:

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks so much for the notes on the Vissoux. I've had other bottlings of theirs, but not the old vines and I saw a bottle of their 06 and picked it up in the store hoping it would be as good as everything else I've had that they have made. Good to know that I have something so wonderful to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

"And get it while you can, because only a third of Brun's 2007's can be labeled as Beaujolais, according to the wise folks at the French INAO. And changing the name of the wine will most assuredly change your perception of it's flavor and quality."

.....that would be a shame and silly! I hope you are just being snarky. The INAO's goal is to have have us all drinking george duboeuf.....

Cliff said...

Thanks so much for these. I'm still working through the 2006's. I love Vissoux and Brun. I've generally just gone vintage to vintage with them, but I managed to hold onto some for the past couple of years, and the transformation is very much worth the hassle and expense of storage. They need food right when they land, but after a year or two, they really open up. Of these, I've also had and loved the 06 Coudert, and think you pegged it well. Don't delay tracking down some of the Tardive. They parked it again this year.

Cheers,
Cliff

Brooklynguy said...

my pleasure, debs. enjoy.

anon - sadly, i'm not kidding. this really happened - is in process of happening. click on the link i provided to see Dressner's website where he describes what happened. very silly indeed.

thanks cliff, appreciate your comments. i have some tardive, actually, but it's sleeping. i'm hoping not to wake it for at least a few years. we'll see if i can be quiet.

Cliff said...

Be strong! The Tardive is really worth keeping. I checked in on the 2002 not so long ago, and it was definitely not ready, at all, while the regular was starting to show signs of life.

Anonymous said...

I was aware this was happening but was actually commenting that it shouldn't change any one's perception of the quality wine that Jean Paul Brun is putting out. The stripping of the designation is a sad sign of the commercial pressures on the wine industry in France.

Brooklynguy said...

ah yes, i was being snide in that sense. that the label change won't have any bearing on how great the 07 will smell and taste. and that actually, calling this wine something other than Beaujolais might even help sales, based on how pathetic a lot of Beaujolais is. why anon, by the way? who are ya?

Lyle Fass said...

That Chiroubles is awesome! Definetly decant!

J. Wade said...

Sorry for the anon comments. Just being lazy. I've been lurking on your blog for quite a while and I am sort of shy. I have now introduced myself.

Wicker Parker said...

Fascinating — I had the 2006 Terres Dorées Cuvée l'Ancien back in December and while I thought it was lean and solid, it struck me as simple rather than complete. It had more of a bicycle messenger body than a soccer player body. Perhaps it has bloomed in the interim! Had you had this previously?

Cliff said...

The 2004 Brun L'Ancien is just opening up now. I went through my last 05 already, alas, but the Vissoux is drinking beautifully now.

Brooklynguy said...

good to meet you j wade.

hey mike - the first time i had this wine was in early February and it was better this time in late April, yes. But I liked it in February too. I think bike messengers and soccer players are sort of similar, by the way. tennis players too.

Anonymous said...

A late comment here, but I stumbled on your remark regarding Guy Breton Morgon exhibiting brett characteristics. I opened a GB Beaujolais-Villages 07 last night and the brett was so strong the wine was nearly undrinkable. Aerated it for a couple of hours but to no avail.
I am wondering if you have witnessed other instances of brett from this producer?

Brooklynguy said...

My one and only bottle of Breton. Sorry.

Cliff said...

I've had brett issues with Breton, but nothing compared to those I've had with Thévenet. These days, I stick to Lapierre, Foillard, and Desvignes. Though, I have heard that Breton has the best parts of the CdP