Domaine de Botheland from Remi & Laurence Dufaitre ~ Another Impressive Cru Beaujolais Red…

This is an exciting domaine managed by Remi and his wife Laurence Dufaitre. They farm around 11 hectares of Gamay naturally, with Remi shunning the use of innoculated yeasts and the use of SO2 in around 2010. 

Jean Foillard, 15 minutes away down the road, has had a big influence on Remi and they see each other almost daily. In 2014 they produced 450 hectolitres of wine from 60 year old average aged Gamay vines. 

L & R Dufaitre Brouilly Cru Beaujolais 2015, 13 Abv. 

Tasting Note: This 2015 has a rich dark seductive opaque red – black plum colour. The nose is so effusive, bursting with liquid strawberry coulis, strawberry jam, ground black pepper corns, and a complex undertone of cognac wood spice, mulled oranges and dried orange citrus peel. With such an alluring nose, there was no doubting that the palate packed a Gamay punch. It’s beautifully dense, fleshy, and mouth filling. All the cognac spice notes are there, with graphite, wild forest frais de bois, black current, grey slate and soft acids, pithy peppery mineral tannins and a long, rich, concentrated finish that goes on and on. This a lovely wine from a smashing Bojo vintage. Serious kit! (Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Burgundy… but not as you know it – The Beaujolais Revival 2016

I read last week that Beaujolais shipments to the UK had risen +18% year-on-year signalling a mini tidal wave of producer tastings, producer visits and generic body promotions. 

In reality, the reason for this growth is surely no more than wine lovers realising that Beaujolais is actually part of Burgundy and that it’s signature red grape Gamay, is one of the most delicious varieties known to man… at a steal of a price!

Then of course there is the on going battle Burgundians face in pricing their minuscule production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay every year. Demand has long outstripped supply and prices have had to go in one inevitable direction… upwards.

But old vine Gamay, in the hands of a fanatical producer, and the ranks are growing, can produce absolute wines of wonder. With Cru Beaujolais from top producers like Yvon Metras, Lapalu, Lafarge, Ligier-Belair, Foillard, and Lapierre etc., you can easily drink 80-100 year old vieilles vignes Cru Gamay wines with the weight and concentration of 1er Cru Burgundy, and that show similar minerality, tension and complexity.

We all fear change. But in actual fact, life is based on change. We are born, we become adults, grow old and then depart for greener pastures. At every stage of our lives we are confronted with change. The wine world too is evolving and changing yearly. Fashions change, consumers migrate between styles, and unloved regions suddenly become hip as drinkers discover their quality offerings. 

What is certain, is that now is the best time to immerse yourself into the world of fine Grower Cru Beaujolais, because like all things of quality, it’s popularity will reach an apex soon and then prices will have to rise. But at least you will be able to say you had drunk your fill! 

Top Beaujolais with Burgundian Grandeur 

Jean Foillard took over his father’s domaine in 1980, with most of the vineyards planted on the Côte du Py, the famed slope outside the town of Villié-Morgon and the pride of Morgon. These granite and schist soils sit on an alluvial fan at the highest point above the town and impart great complexity. 

In his early wine career, Jean began to follow the teachings of Jules Chauvet, a traditionalist who defied everything that the more commercial brands were pushing in the region at the time.

Jean, along with three other notable local vignerons, Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Guy Breton, soon teamed up following a ‘new’ (old) way of Cru Beaujolais production, to return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification starting with old vines, never using herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, adding minimal sulphur dioxide or none at all, and refusing chaptalization and filtration. 

The end result allows Morgon to express itself naturally. Today, the estate comprises nearly fourteen hectares producing deep, structured, and complex wines with great aging potential. 

Jean also uses older barrels sourced from top estates in Burgundy, crafting Gamay in a very Burgundian style.

The Morgon Cuvee 3.14 comes from a vineyard that is 100% Gamay from over 100 year old vines, grown on Schist and Granite soils, totalling 8.6 hectares.

Tasting Note: Jean Foillard Morgon 2013 Cuvee 3.14 – Dark, opaque, seductive plummy colour. The nose is perfumed, lifted and beautifully exotic with cherry blossoms, strawberry coulis, baked red apples, crushed gravel and mulberries. There is such attention to detail on the palate highlighting its pedigree and breeding, and of course the old vine fruit’s majestic grandeur. The display of full throttle concentration, succulent acids and liquid mineral tannins is so very impressive. This rarity from Jean Foillard really lives up to its 5 star reputation among Gamay lovers. (Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)