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.
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.
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.
From the Macedon Ranges where lions will find it a bit chilly but Gamay may thrive judging by this bottle. Fresh as spring water, mint, Australian forest smells, washy raspberry and strawberry. Crisp and so easy to enjoy. Never going to be bombastic enough for seekers of raw power but there’s something in the finish like licking wet granite, oddly delicious, that suggests there may be something special about the site and how happy Gamay is to be there. Vine age and time will out.
12.5% alcohol. Diam. $37.
91 and very interesting.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.