I find the trend of Gamay in Beaujolais has affected my palate; normally if I need a juice wine with great drinkability I'll go for one of my prefered grape varieties from Italy the Barbera. I know they are completely different however I love the similarity through them.
Beaujolais is a southern region of Burgundy on granitic and schist soil, Gamay it is the varieties more planted along some rare chardonnay, Pinot noir and Aligotè let's say Gamay is the man in this region.
There are ten crus make this region diversified and almost unique and if they are apply to the label are red so Gamay, the crus are:
Moulin A Vent
Cote de Broully
This area is very skilled for the carbonic maceration an interesting technique of winemaking to ferment the grapes normally stemmed inclusive "whole bunch" in absence of oxygen with carbon dioxide, the bunch are closed in vats and filled with carbon dioxide gas, or more interesting are the semi carbonic maceration which the producer rather then filled with gas CO2 they using the natural carbon dioxide happening on the natural fermentation. This system extract flavor and color very quickly and very little tannin. So the wine are virtually rosè, light, fruit and juice. However some cru and some producer can make a very cool mineral and serious wine in Pinot style.
Let's start with some of my recent tasting:
Fleurie Yvon Mètras, I discover this producer in the restaurant where lately I have been working.
This simple white label are is "Villes Vignes" old vines from 2010
Beautifully transparent with great ruby color lovely viscosity, clean and perfumed red cherry, cranberry and strawberry with a lovely ripeness. Some lavender, fennel and sage. Resinous and tar. Sour and precise. Great wine. Fleurie is the queen of the crus, I will say the Chambolle Musigny of Cote de Nuit.
Second one Le Printemps Fleurie 2010 from Yvon Metras. Less complex than is Villes vigne but I found it with more mineral very granitic and schisty, stony steely and rubbery. Another Queen
Next producer according to Kermit Lynch a wine merchant in States is one of the gang of four of the Gamay from Beaujolais.
Jean FoillardThe biggest part of his vineyard are in Morgon the sturdy and masculine cru of this region a "Gevery Chambertin". Granite and schist on a deposit of clay and sandy, very fertile soil. From this vigneron I had the Cote de Py from 2011. "Cote de Py" stand for a famous slope outside the town of Villie Morgon, an exceptional Grand cru.
This wine every time I had I was amazed by its beauty and funkiness; more concentrated in color than Fleurie, some black and red cherry lovely tannin quite mellow but present. Palate red plum juice and structure very mineral, sour and great length… My goodness how good it is "Funky free jazz".
The next wine from Foillard was a 2007 "Cuvee Corcelette" a 80 years old vine on a completely sand stone soil I wasn't amazed by this one, I do think without granitic soil Gamay doesn't express himself very good. I'll taste it again and review next time... for now let's said the bottle wasn't in a great condition.
Still another Cote du Py from Foillard from 2010 a very different vintage more approachable but more typically Beaujolais, the nose more rubbery and bit shorter but still great and outstanding wine.
Another Fleurie was from Julie Balagny a young producer with very cool labels. This wine still from 2010 a classic approachable vintage was perfumed peach and racy, bubble gum with hint of smoked hay, sweetly fruit but not excessive. Any lady will enjoy the wine of this amazing girl "Julie". A very passionate winemaker.
Now it's time for a legend Mr. Marcel Lapierre a father of the biodinamique in Beaujolais. Detail, precision and meticulous are his approach to winemaking his wine are more pinotesque than Gamay. I love all his wine for me there is no different of vintage; with this producer you can lock yourself in any dinner with your friends or partner and make them happy with a bottle of Marcel.
Many thanks going to the grand father of the movement of natural winemaking in this region Mr. Jules Chauvet a negociant who unfortunately died in 1989.
Chauvet was a rare combination of winemaker, research of chemist and super taster. He argued for naturalness in wine from a position of scientific expertise and immense experience.