2020 Mommessin Côte de Brouilly

Mommessin seem to be one of the successes in recent Dan Murphy direct imports. Reading Bill Nanson’s prolific and informed blog, the Burgundy Report, it’s clear the very large Boisset’s ownership of Mommessin has had a positive effect on quality. From tired, over sulphured boredom to a delicious sense of place. Some real craft in dealing with the last few hot vintages too. This is another of the grandly titled “Grandes Mises” series which seems to mean a flashy heavier bottle and bad quality corks as well as some quality fruit. I think I enjoyed this even more than the Côte de Puy from the same vintage. Seems a bit fresher and more supple. Berry pips, somewhere between raspberry and blackberry, loganberry or something? Dark and sweet cherry compôte, meaning not quite jam but sweeter than just picked and fresh? Pleasing intensity of fruit swept dry by lots of puckering skin tannin and mouthwatering acidity, yum. Second and third days, no real oxidation and richness gained. Darker fruit emerges, kirsch and cocoa sit on tannins that seem even sweeter. Very good grapes methinks. Takes some trial and several errors but there’s something good lurking on Dan’s import shelves these days.

14% alcohol very nicely buffered. Horrible cork. $22.80, bargain.

93 points.

2020 Combe St Jean Bourgogne Gamay and 2019 Tenuta Santodeno Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore

Two direct imports from Dan Murphy’s or Pinnacle Drinks or whichever brand one of the three big supermarkets who bypass the usual wholesale call themselves. Australia’s appalling wine taxation seems to make us wine freaks seek some import value wherever we can. I’ve noticed that the most viewed posts on this sporadic blog seem to be for cheap imports, glad to know I’m not alone in my ache to find a gem that helps the budget. The exploration has been entirely Dan Murphy’s and Aldi. One day I’ll brave Vintage Cellars or the other versions of Coles booze outlets again but their silly pricing and lack of spark still look pretty discouraging. Dan’s and on rare occasion, Aldi offer the odd one good enough to raise the enthusiasm for a recommendation. Often the shiny new French, Italian or Spaniard on the shelf turns out to be not exactly a disaster but something that’s just acceptable, certainly not worth bothering a reader about. Maybe it’s worth the time to point out those that are OK if you’re desperate for a latin fandango but not much more. I’ve certainly laboured my way through a few over two or three nights. Don’t think a little disparaging here is exactly going to worry the megastores. It’s only opinion anyway. So….things to maybe avoid if you want to make every bottle count.

The Bourgogne Gamay. Impossible to nail down a producer. Googling just leads to opaque branding and a suggestion the Gamay in question comes from “Beaujolais Crus”, who knows where the Combe St Jean makes wine? Light to medium weight, sappy cherries, sweet green herbs and nuts, good firm 2020 acidity but dilute through the end just when you’d prefer some weight and clipped with what tastes like a heavy hand with safety first sulphur flinging. The Mommessin from Dan’s versions are much better value and often delicious. Enough here to go back to see if there’s more to come but ultimately there’s not.

13% alcohol. Screw cap. $23.80 in a six.

87 or 88 points and a nice gold medal sticker too.

The Sangiovese. Must admit to a long time love of Emilia Romagna, Champagne socialists, food, red brick ancient cities, delightfully out of fashion Lambrusco and the occasional great Sangiovese. Whenever a new Sangio import appears, the lure is siren. Flashy heavy bottle here, filled by a winery that’s part of one of those large conglomerate Italian businesses. Industrially clean, heavily extracted from just OK, just ripe enough grapes. Loads of furry tannin and reasonably mouth friendly acidity. Sadly, the fruit decides to take a holiday as that structure flexes. Not sure I could say it were Sangiovese were it not on the label. Again, no faults but not much joy. it’s very difficult to find proper Sangiovese under $30. Suggestions welcome.

14% alcohol. Diam. $17.80 in a six.

87 points.

2020 Mommessin Morgon Côte du Py

In the scheme of Beaujolais crus, Côte dy Py is very well regarded it seems, particularly due to Foillard bottles. This appeared on Dan Murphy’s shelves as a $20 member’s special, about a quarter of the current Foillard, if you can find it. Certainly worth the risk for the outlay. The other Mommessin 2020s have proved great value, consistently fresh and clean. Well, pop me in a TARDIS and go back to when things were made to last with loads of dry extract, built tough to endure and difficult to make friends with in their youth. Sort of reminds me of old, hot year Burgundy. First day, event horizon lack of perfume and a full savoury dry mouthful. Something in the density and chew flickered with a satisfying clean grape skin sweetness and depth. Second day and there’s some flavours of dark cherry, fruit and nut chocolate and granite firmness. Frowning generosity. Could well surprise with a long lie down somewhere cool and dark to see if that extract flowers into fruit you can actually taste? Maybe the tree bark just flattened the fruit beyond my faculties? Maybe it’ll just dry out and become even tougher? Be fun to try another. Quite a ride for $20.

13.5% alcohol. Cork, shame lots of other Mommessin bottles choose better. $20.

90+ points or somewhere between 88 and 94, what do I know.

15th June 22. Had to try second bottle, particularly for $20. Maybe just a bit more fruit showing and a touch softer than the first. More cohesive. Whether that’s due to a few weeks more in the bottle or the first one suffering the endless and often indeterminate horrors of corks, I still don’t know. Anyway, delicious bargain.

93 points this time.

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.