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.

2017 Château de Pierreux Réserve de Château Brouilly

Not exactly a small producer, hand made Beaujolais. The property is owned by the very big indeed company of Boisset Mommessin and imported by one of Australia’s supermarket duopoly. Economy of scale and some don’t mess it up winemaking perhaps? Some earlier Beaujolais vintages from this maker were flattened by some pretty obvious sulphur additions, meaty and lacking freshness. This vintage though is bright and crunchy fruited with wafts of red cherry, strawberry, a lifted sort of wine gum banana thing and a tasty sappy, floral edge. The acidity is a touch firm, a greenish tug but not sour which maybe shows how quickly things ripened in yet another early warm vintage. The website marketing blurb claims the property has some old goblet trained vines and there is indeed a nice depth of fruit toward the end of a mouthful. It hung on really well for a couple of days, clean and pleasing but probably no threat to rival the detail and depth of a Foillard. There’s room in the world for supermarket and the niche too.

14% alcohol but it don’t show. Screwcap, another good Boisset decision. $19 in a six on member’s special, normally $22. A bargain at both prices.

92 points.

2018 vintage and nowhere near the interest, sadly. Dry red wine more than Gamay from Beaujolais. Anodyne supermarket version, well made, clean, safe and good effort from a sweaty vintage.

88 points

2018 Pierre Marie Chermette Beaujolais Griottes

Gamay is just the ticket to buy for summer. Served cool, the bright splash of vivid berries and cherries – or griottes, of course – closely followed by a crunch of mouth freshening acid without the frown of serious tannin suit a warm evening so well. This one’s an old favourite and its 2018 vintage shows those glossy cherries but perhaps in their ripest form as there’s a dark colour and some prune depth to show for a dry, hot vintage. The acidity felt a touch too firm and maybe greenish to start but by day three it had softened into the generously weighted dark cherries. Despite the suggestion this is the producer’s more simple, get straight into it bottle, three days of improving sipping hint to the fact that a few years wait won’t hurt. It’s been a great season for cherries around here.

13% alcohol. Screwcap. $32.

92 points.

2017 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages

Opened this and the next day learnt of the recent death of the man himself, so cheers to nearly 87 years of a very influential life. So much so that this bottling has often been a welcome last resort when glumly staring at the shelves of an out of town supermarket. Old Georges’ ability to make and sell Beaujolais was such he even reached the drabness of Australian outer suburbia. Clean, reliable, perhaps anodyne but always a delicious, gently tangy drink on a warm evening. Probably a lot more is made of this each year than all the wonderfully alive new wave naturals put together. Sure, this one’s a bit over extracted, a little corporate but the rich bouncy cherry flavour suggests some good honest fruit and the biting crunch of good acidity and skin tannin demands the seasonal goodness of the summer table. Must admit to really enjoying this, think we can forgive the Beaujolais Nouveau which probably helped the growers’ cash flow no end.

13% alcohol. Screwcap, good corporate thinking. $18, bargain.

90 points but for drinking not pointing.

2017 Louis Claude Desvignes Les Impénitents Morgon Côte du Py Javernières

This isn’t sheepish in showing its delicious, mid weight mix of pure, clean and dense fruit equalled by mineral earthiness. Pristine dark cherry and raspberry liqueur chocolate sliced with granitic acidity and ripe rolling tannins. Deep, dense and perhaps true to the reputation of Morgon being the most powerful and lasting of crus? Irresistibly drinkable yet will probably mellow and deepen in years to come. Nothing to be penitent about here apart from how quickly it vanished. Another cracking 2017 Beaujolais.

13% alcohol. Cork. Perfect addition to the pizza, thanks for sharing.

95 points.

2009 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cuvée la Chapelle

Little bit of old bottle dust to open but relaxed to be nicely clean and pure as it enjoyed some fresh air. The warm vintage perhaps shows in some quite dark cherry fruit and toasted whole meal bread but there’s still a lovely juiciness and mineral length. The twist of granite pucker carries the plum and cherry flavour beautifully. Still fresh for a Gamay nearing a decade of age, although the parts are amalgamating into self possessed composure. What a consistent producer. The ancient font label belies the craft and technique inside. Long way from industrial nouveau.

13.50% alcohol. Cork. $55 approximately in 2011.

94 points.