2020 Château Pierreux Brouilly Réserve du Château

For a bottle from the extremely large Mommessin wine business this has character and more than enough interesting flavours, especially when it’s a supermarket duopoly direct import for $21 as a member’s special. Initially a bit stinky and reductive, oxygen is your friend here. Sun warmed, dried berries and briar with a tang of firm acidity, almost a bit too firm. Twenty four hours and it loosens up. Some very ripe berries again with a sooty, sun warmed, burnt skin spice. There’s still a zap of just ripe crunchy acidity but it suits what increasingly appears to some very intense fruit flavour. Not exactly the perfumed, lightness of being you could expect from Beaujolais of yore but nonetheless a very satisfying mouthful of some concentration. So good, I bought another a few weeks later and it seems to be getting more lush. Quite the bargain really. Maybe a product of low yields and another warm year but delicious and three more to the cellar to see what happens in a couple of years?

14.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $21, not much for such attention grabbing flavour.

Started 90, maybe 93 in time?

2020 Louis et Claude Desvignes Morgon Château Gaillard

Another 2020 Morgon and a startling difference to Lapierre. Loads more extraction, concentration and tannin, different but still good. First day it looked round and fresh with dark summer berries, rose perfume, and a sweet stoney cut, spotlessly clean and sparkling. A breath of air over three days drew out a profound depth of concentrated fruit. Low yields or the mouth coating power that uneven fruit set bring in what the French call millerandage or we anglos say hens and chickens or even pumpkins and peas (for the vegans) all may have played a part in the reduced sauce like intensity. Despite after seventy two hours of oxygen, it was gobsmacking, literally, to sit with a small sip and let it reverberate through the senses, a fresh unmoving essence of great fruit. Another bottle saved for later brings a warm feeling, better than just money in the bank. It’s noted that the Desvignes don’t have a single wooden barrel in the winery, and why on planet earth would you bother with anything getting in the way of such great grapes?

14.5% alcohol. Cork with a wax cap. $45 ish.

95 points.

2020 M & C Lapierre Morgon

One of the original Gang of Four Chauvet disciples and the first from the legendary Lapierre for me. Opens with that unmistakable nutty, yeasty breath of a very low sulphur natural wine. The rush of pristine fresh berries and granite glistening across the whole olfactory equipment push the funk well and truly into a mere seasoning. Essence of cherries, strawberries and earth. Dense but so light on its feet. Mouthwatering acidity and high definition fine tannin in a just medium sized body only make me wish it was a magnum. The sort of dedicated grape growing that’s probably good for our Earth and a way of making wine that’s changed our perception of fermented grapes for ever. It’s alive I tell yer.

13.5%. Cork. A well chosen swap, thanks Fish.

93 points.

2018 Mommessin Morgon Côte du Py

Having convinced myself 2018 Beaujolais is largely over ripe and far too chunky, I saw a Dan Murphy’s member’s special of $20 for what looked like a new vintage 2019 on the shelf and quickly grabbed one. Opened it and thought it good and fresh but very ripe, only to look at the label to realise I’d ended up with 2018. Attempting to objectively look at what’s poured, there is a dark, purple red colour more like N Rhône Syrah than BJ and lots of currant and plum. Ripe cherry flavour too with a follow up of fruit and nut chocolate. Glossy and sweet like something from a newer world. The richness cut by chunky ripe acid and dry grape skin tannin. Not the perfume, life and grace of cooler years but still delicious and proof of a site hanging on well in the heat. Must go back and find a 2019 with my reading glasses on.

13.5%. Cork. $20 bargain.

92 points.

2019 Henry Fessy Morgon Crus de Beaujolais

Despite another hot vintage, 2019 does seem to have produced bottles with more freshness and bright crispness than 2018. Starts off shyly and reluctantly but a day‘s oxygen brings bubblegum, salami or jamon with herbs rubbed thereon, raspberry jam and cherries. Light to medium weight, perhaps a little abrupt in the acid and tannin department but with a pleasing stoney mineral feel. The fruit weight’s a bit washy and simple but does have some detail. Sweetens nicely through the end. Just enough to keep the interest to the end of the bottle which is perhaps the real test?

14% alcohol. Nomacorc sugar cane polymer stopper. $23.40 in a six.

91 points, just.

2017 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly L’Héronde

A good friend brought a bottle of this to dinner and for once hadn’t had the chance to open it first to check the tree bark. Murphy’s cork law applied itself with vigour and it was simply the most TCA affected bottle to offend my delicate nose for months. A kind suggestion to drink the replacement if I could get it swapped got me off the couch the next day, thanks Rathdowne Cellars for the sympathy. The new bottle opened without any musty horror, in fact with a good whack of super fresh, glistening red fruit. Over time darker plums and spices gave gravity and a sweet lip stick kiss seduced another glass. Beautiful earthiness and a bloody lip after that sweet kiss add depth. In terms of brilliant acidity and ripe tannin underpinning svelte and deep fruit, this rivals a good village Burgundy for half the price which probably means I’ll have to open another from the Côte d’Or for that dear friend. He did stick his ample nose in the last one opened blind and exhaled ‘ah, Burgundy’.

13.5% alcohol. Cork, despite being a daft thing to stick in a bottle, it did lead to me getting more of the contents and a nice stroll to the shops. Thanks D.

94 points.

2019 David Bouland Morgon Corcelette

Despite what appeared to be another hot summer, 2019 may have finished up even tempered enough to produce grapes with some balance in the acidity department; remarkable having read of heatwaves, hailstones the size of pétanque balls and drought. Great effort this, deep flavour, firm acidity and sweet tannin. Dark dried cherry, plum and some flowery perfume, almost a sort of dried cranberry thing. Assuming it was made with stems and all, there’s little toughness or frowning, just a twist of a savoury roast. Hardly the most slinky and fragrant of cool Beaujolais but concentrated and friendly. Resilient.

13.5% alcohol. Diam, I think, forgot to check. $50.

94 points.

2016 Domaine Chignard Fleurie Cuvée Les 10 Coupées

Trusted observers suggest there was a lot of crop loss to hail in Beaujolais in 2016, particularly in Fleurie. Some of what was left ended up in this delicious bottle of deep joy. Over two days, it started a bit wild yeasty with middle weight cherry, all bright and fresh. The countryside yeast swirls into sweet clod earth. Just picked fresh fruit acidity and pithy grape skin push the flavour along. Second day, things darken, kirsch, exotic spice and a floral perfume to still lighten. Succulent and concentrated, power and poise. Beneath the depths, a rigid backbone of sparkling granitic acid. Hearts and bones as Paul Simon sang.

13% alcohol. Cork. Thanks D for the careful choice.

94 points plus a bit in time?

2018 Famille Sambardier Cuvée Des P’tits Jean Gamay Noir

Once more to the shelves of Dan Murphy’s for some budgetary relief and hooray, there’s some new things. From what seems a fairly substantial producer of Beaujolais, this avoids the bureaucratic authentication of appellation and says simply Vin de France on the back label. Took a while to even out, a little reduction to blow away, then a lift of marker pen took a while to sink back. Once it calmed down, a light weight of good whole berry fruit and bloody ironstone floated on sweeping acidity, like licking glass. Over twenty four hours, some of the perfume receded and cherries in toffee darkened the flavours. By no means concentrated but not confected, a clear blast of freshness and some regional truth. A run of the mill Bourgogne Rouge as good would probably be three time the price, the credit card balance likes this.

13% alcohol. Looks like a Diam with discs of cork glued on each end. $14.30 in a six bottle buy.

88 points.

Must confess to a little environmental neurosis as the effect of us humans on our only planet becomes more obviously less than sustainable. Please don’t remind me of all that CO2 produced on those flights to Europe. A recent bottle of a once favourite Barossa GSM was not only unusually weighed down by ripeness but also by the sheer quantity of silica melted to produce the container. It makes the recycling bin even more embarrassingly heavy and it even needed a larger than usual screw cap to seal it. To join Jancis’ crusade, bottle weights are now featured. This one 421gms. Yeh, I know, stop drinking poncy high carbon imports.

2018 Domaine Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers

Forthright ripe red fruit bursts from the glass quickly chased by a toffee warmth, then a crunch of firm acidity. A big bowl of strawberry, plum and a few blueberries. Not surprisingly there’s an overlay of floral smells like violets and roses, Fleurie after all. In between the dense fruit and popping up again to finish is a mineral pull, licking rocks again. Bold, warm and positive but detailed and composed too. Just to prove it’s maker’s place amongst the minimalist interveners, a yeasty edge suggests low sulphur. All the parts came together well over two evenings. Definitely not Beaujolais Nouveau.

13% alcohol. Cork. $42.

93, maybe 94 points.