Can’t resist a glittering gold medal sticker, particularly on a cheap Dan’s import. Must confess to being uninspired by the lack of new things on the shelves to raise enough enthusiasm for a six bottle discount buy this month. Cabernet Franc seems more plentiful along the Loire but there’s been quite a few Gamays I’ve enjoyed. From the Côtes du Forez, near the river’s origin, all the way to Anjou it’s been a maybe crisper, less lush alternative to the Beaujolais versions. Bit cheaper too. There’s no real clue as to where this was grown but there’s quite a bit of Gamay to the east of Tours where the maker’s based. In the glass and it’s very clean, whole berry bright red fruited. Crisp with a snap of mouth wetting acidity and a dab of skin tannin. The fruit’s just a brush of summer berries nicely perched thereon. As Spandau Ballet would, Gold, or errr, bronze.
12% alcohol. Screw cap. $14
88 points and very nice to drink.
A just opened 2021 version is as fresh and crisp and again just enough sweet summer berry to keep up. Savoury too. Simple but nice balance.
Nothing better than gathering across the table to share and chat, unless a Beaujolais smitten good friend brings something to jog memories of great bottles from M. Bouland, then it’s shut up, this is special. No notes, having too much fun but in case you fancy one of the best 2020 Crus so far drunk, here’s a happy memory. Clean, pure red fruits just over ripening into something sweet and darker, rich and concentrated. Perfect summer berries. Sweet earth and rocky complications. The carriage of granite acidity and tannins, so fine you’ll need a microscope to see them separately, cleans up and then there’s just perfume and length for a long, long time. Very fine indeed. Beautifully made. Kept me quiet for a while, probably why D brought it along.
13.5% alcohol. Cork or Diam, forgot. Thanks for sharing.
From an obscure and very small AOP close to the source of the Loire up in a valley in the Massif Central and a valley over the hills from the Rhône, this is a clean and deeply fruited Gamay. The ripest, darkest and most squishy imaginable dark cherries are seasoned with cocoa dusted sweet earth. Almost like there’s an infusion of the rocks in which the vines grow. Starts well and then goes deep into the palate, resounding as it leaves with a sweet hug of ripe skin tannin and a sparkle of rock, spice and acidity. Loosens up a bit the next day with a lift of skin shrivelled ethyl acetate and a drying finish. From a hot year up in remote cool mountains. Great wine from nowhere.
14.5% alcohol. Cork. $32 at auction.
Good basic Beaujolais. Probably enough words. But I’ll bang on a bit more. The second from my desperate Dan’s November six and it’s already the 23rd so I’d better get drinking. Lots of that bubblegum or boiled sweet or lolly as Australians say, coming from fermenting whole uncrushed grapes I think. Underneath a lick of bouncy cherry and red berries and a glitter of rocky minerals. Carries well on clean, well mannered acidity and a flicker of grape skin tannin to a washy dilute feeling ending. Good value but maybe not nearly as good as Mommessin’s Beaujolais Villages or Crus. Dan’s direct import prices means this beggar can choose.
13% alcohol. Screw cap. $12.00 as a member’s special and probably the cheapest way to get an authentic glass of cool Beaujolais.
More from the random Dan’s six. The 2018 was worth a review, didn’t seem to be trying too hard, and prompted a look at a new vintage, albeit nearly twenty percent more expensive. Opened with the same edgy lift as 2018, some leafy smells worryingly into mulch and decomposition. Air was its friend again as some attractive tart raspberry and cherry fruit battled through the compost aided by good crisp acidity. There’s an authentic feel as it doesn’t look mucked about with in the making. As it’s now over fifteen of our Australian dollars now, the Mommessin and Fessy alternatives maybe look a better option at Dan’s but it drank well, particularly with a bit of something to eat.
13% alcohol. Screw cap. $17.10 in a six.
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.
The 2021 turned up at Dan’s, so a bottle to taste. I must admit to still getting excited about the thrill of a new vintage from a label that seems to do value and quality in good measure. The jewels in the heep of supermarket imports. From drinking much more Beaujolais over the past few summers, it seems the season’s weather writes a clear message in a bottle. Such different weight, ripeness and alcohol. Tart cherry, stony earth and a dash of sweet green herbs. Washy and not quite ripe through the end but perhaps more crisp than green and good drunk cool with a summer salad. Mommessin’s own informative website says their Côte de Brouilly site shows particular mineral characteristics, they’re right.
12.5% alcohol. Cork. $22 as a Dan’s member’s’ special, value.
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.
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.
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?
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.