Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Special report: 2005 Beaujolais

A special treat to make up for not posting last Friday. These notes are from Spring 2007 that I found while doing some housecleaning of old files.. Of particular interest is that the 2000 Brun l’Ancien was corked and the 2005s have become an undrinkable mess under fake cork. Puts the difficulty of dealing with this issue in sharp relief.

My tasting group gathered for our (more or less) annual Beaujolais dinner. This year the focus was on the 2005 vintage, a vintage thought to be the best since the legendary 1991. I'm in no position to dispute that as the tasting showed many wines with excellent density, structure and balance and a couple of surprises. We had a fantastic meal of hearty French fare put together by my brother and the staff at Rue Cler (if you are ever in the triangle, make sure to stop in for dinner). The thing that really struck me tonight was that some surprising wines like the Savoye, Chignard, and Diochon showed so spectacularly. The Savoye and Diochon look likely candidates for the cellar as well. Another smaller lesson is that it is time to start finishing off your 2000s. This was never likely to be a long lived vintage, so I'd get what's left in them now rather than waiting. This brings up an interesting issue about how much 2005 Beaujolais to buy. It is certainly a stupendous vintage that should drink well for 20 years (at least if the 1991 Coudert I tried in February is indicative of the future behavior of the best 2005s). I didn't put any 2003 or 2004s in the cellar and will probably be loading up, maybe not in blackwoodian quantities, but more than I've ever bought before.

2005 Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Cuvée l'Ancien
Nice dark but translucent robe. Bright fruit and that crunchiness I associate with l'Ancien. An excellent showing tonight with plenty of stuffing, structure, and length. Clearly punching above it's weight class and as good a young l'Ancien as I can remember. At least one person thought this was the best wine of the night.

2005 Michaud Brouilly Prestige de Vieilles Vignes
Kind of a letdown after the rave reviews this has been receiving. Nothing wrong with it, but rather mute on the nose and out of it's depth in the company of many of these wines tonight. Best in terms of it's mouthfeel, but I expected to have more on the nose and a greater sense of style.

2005 Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Côte de Brouilly
This is really dominated by its structure today. Tastes of chalk and tannin and really doesn't show the seamless texture and fruit. Not sure what to make of it. I mean, I like the structure and the ascetic qualities, but I would like the promise of fruit coming into balance.

2005 Chanrion Côte-de-Brouilly
Tastes almost artificial in this company. Kool-Aid-ish and not terribly interesting.

2005 Clos de Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie
I've already had this several times, so I spent less time with it than maybe I should have. While it is no surprise that 2005 is an excellent vintage for this wine, what did surprise me was that I preferred the Tardive to this bottling. That almost never happens.

2005 Clos de Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie Cuvée Tardive
As alluded to above, this may be the first time I've preferred the Tardive to the regular cuvee from Coudert. I think because of the massive amount of baby fat they both have, it was the sheer expressiveness on the nose of this wine. Bought a case of magnums (cool!) and will fill my cellar with this spherical wine. Tons of fruit, as one would expect, but it was the clarity and poise of the nose that made this wine so dramatic. If I had a complaint, it would have been the absence of structure, but my guess is that it was just covered in baby-fat.

2005 Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers
This wine showed brilliantly and was another wine that exceeded expectations. Really sparkeled with fresh flowers, fruit, and rocks. It was mouthfilling, but not heavy and washed off the palate with fresh acidity, bright flavors, and nice structure. Not sure this will be a long ager, but should be a delight for the next 3-5 years.

2004 Vissoux (Pierre-Marie Chermette) Fleurie Poncié
This turned out to be a 2004 as well. Pretty much undistinguished, but I didn't put much effort into it either.

2005 Clos de Fief (Tête) Juliénas
A great vintage for this wine which a couple of folks thought was the best of the night. I seem to have a real weakness for Tête's wines. They have a really brash, deeply cherry quality that is tangy and deep without being too flirty to be taken seriously. There is always a dark mineral underpinning to the fruit and a purple flower quality tot the nose. No doubt at least a couple cases will make it into the cellar.

2004 Clos de Fief (Tête) Juliénas Cuvée Prestige
Turned out to be the 2004. To my palate, not a great year for this cuvée, but polished and graceful if a bit herby. Amazing how old this looks next to the electric 2005.

2005 Lapierre Morgon
This showed the most aromatic complexity of the low-sulfur Morgons without any of the unbalanced qualities that can sometimes plague this wine. Lots of ripe berries and herbs here and less structured than I would have thought. Again, covered in baby-fat I presume. I'm definitely a buyer, but maybe in small-ish quantities.

2005 Savoye Morgon Côte de Py
For me this was one of the big surpises of the tasting. Lighter in color than many of the other wines and more mineral and structured. Has a vinous quality that surpasses many of the other wines. While stern and serious, it still tastes like Morgon. It reminds me quite a bit of the wines of Desvignes. I do not know very much about this producer, but to my palate this was one of the 2-3 best wines at the table. I will certainly put some of this in the cellar.

2005 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py
This has an herb and seeded berry jam quality that I associate with this wine. A distinctive profile and the 2005 is no different. Lots of fruit and baby fat make it appear a bit simple, but delicious. A slight wiff of VA (this wine usually has some) makes me a bit wary of cellaring, but the potential is definitely there.

2005 Thévenet Morgon Vieilles Vignes
This wine was mildly corked. It seemed off at first, but it took a while for the TCA to become apparent. Too bad as the 2002 was the star of the dinner for that vintage.

2005 Vissoux (Pierre-Marie Chermette) Moulin à Vent Les Deux Roches
One of the most deeply colored and fruited wines. I've always found the Vissoux Cru to be stylistically quite different from the Cuvée Tradition. However, you have to give it it's due. It shows waves and waves of deep fruit over a bright granite slab. A delicious wine if not especially complex.

2005 Diochon Moulin-A-Vent Vieilles Vignes
This was the other big surprise. Really an excellent wine with herb and mineral infused fresh crushed berries, excellent length, and precise structure. I have developed a theory on Diochon, that the wine is ho-hum but in excellent years, it will be truly excellent (see the 1991 and 1995). Really, this was shockingly good.

2000 Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Cuvée l'Ancien
Corked. Damn.

2000 Clos de Roilette (Coudert) Fleurie
It was tough having these together with the newer wines. I had a bottle of this in September with my folks and it showed great. It looked tired (a bit of browning, but that could be the lighting as well) and showed it a bit. I'm planning on finishing off my remaining bottles over the next 6 months.

2000 Clos de Fief (Tête) Juliénas
See above. Also tired, although maybe a bit more spine left than the Coudert.


Florida Jim said...

2007 was awhile ago.
Any recent experiences with these wines?
Best, JIm

the vlm said...

Hey, it's a Tuesday special, whaddya want?

Roilette and Desvignes: DO NOT TOUCH.

Brun l'Ancien: ruined.

If you and John swing to town, we'll do 1999-2002 of Roilette and Tete.

sfgadfly said...

Now you tell us! Fortunately, I bought into the '05 hype anyway. But the fake corks are killing us all.

TWG said...

McDuff indicates the Vissoux MaV was a bit variable in expressiveness over the course of a November evening.

Brooklynguy said...

Any ideas as to why fake cork is producing bad results?

Florida Jim said...

I'm on my way to our place in NC to pick over the cellar and do a few repairs caused by the X-mas storm (nothing serious). I'll pick up some '05 Beaus. and tote them south for testing.
Unfortunately, no time to head east but maybe later in the year.
Best, Jim