2016 Moulin-à-Vent, Les Brussellions, Louis Boillot, Beaujolais
William Kelley - 30/04/2019
About this WINE
Louis shares his cellar with his other half, Ghislaine Barthod , under their home in Chambolle, overlooking Les Feusselottes. He is part of the Boillot family from Volnay, which explains the quantity of his vineyard holdings in the Côte de Beaune.
Since striking out on his own in 2003, he has been able to maximise the potential of his many disparate small parcels – he makes 16 wines from less than seven hectares – many of which are notable for the exceptional age of their vines.
He expanded into Moulin-à-Vent in ’13 and subsequently into Fleurie, fulfilling a long-held ambition. His and Ghislaine’s son Clément is now officially in charge, while Louis focusses on his viticulture. As yet, there are no discernible changes.
In the winery
“Non-intervention” is the word here, and Louis prefers to let his old vines speak for themselves. Everything is destalked, and the wines are bottled without fining or filtration.
Moulin a Vent
Known as the ‘King of Beaujolais’ for its power, structure and longevity, Moulin-à-Vent is the most atypical of all the Beaujolais Crus, even if it is potentially the best. Its style is the antithesis of light, fluffy Beaujolais, and when fully mature (often at 10 years old or more) it resembles more a fine Burgundy, or even a Rhône, than Beaujolais. Named after the local windmill (which translates as moulin-à-vent in French) Moulin-à-Vent is a real vindication of the principle of ‘terroir’.
Moulin-à-Vent's neighbour Fleurie produces perfumed, silky, approachable wines, while Moulin-à-Vent, using the same grape (100% Gamay) and broadly the same vinification, makes wines that are meaty, tannic and intense, and need 2-3 years to mature. The only possible explanation, it seems, is the high proportion of iron and manganese in Moulin-à-Vent’s soil. Moulin-à-Vent tends to be most expensive of the Beaujolais Crus, although happily it is home to a number of very fine producers, so there is plenty for wine lovers to choose from.
Recommended producers: Jacky Janodet, Olivier Merlin.
A French variety planted predominately in Beaujolais where it is the grape behind everything from light and often acidic Beaujolais Nouveau through to the more serious and well-structured wines from the 10 cru villages. It takes its name from a hamlet just outside Chassagne-Montrachet and was at one stage widely planted on the Côte d`Or. However it was gradually phased out due to its poor yield and supposed poor quality of its wines.
The majority of Gamay wines in Beaujolais are labelled as Beaujolais or Beaujolais-Villages and are deliciously juicy, easy drinking, gulpable wines. Of more interest are the Cru wines from the 10 villages in the north of the region where the soil is predominantly granitic schist and where the vines are planted on gently undulating slopes. These can be well-structured, intensely perfumed wines, redolent of ripe black fruits and, while delicious young, will reward medium term cellaring.
Gamay is also grown in the Touraine region of the Loire where it produces soft, well-balanced, gluggable wines for drinking young.
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As ever, this is Louis’s richest and most serious wine, displaying a nose of rich, black fruit and savoury spice. There is still wonderful purity, along with an enormous density of black cherry fruit at the core. The structure is equally dense and present, but is balanced by the softness in the mid-palate. Once again, the lingering impression is one of freshness and energy. A wine which needs significant time to realise its potential. Drink 2022-2030.
Adam Bruntlett, Wine Buyer
The excellence of Cru Beaujolais is something I have held dear for some time, but its ageing potential was first brought to my attention when I was served two Moulin-à-Vent wines from 1961 and 1962 produced by Camille Giroud. The freshness and complexity of these wines was simply astonishing and I have since made it something of a personal mission to return these great wines to their rightful place in the cellars and on the tables of the most discerning wine drinkers. The wines in our offer cover a range of styles; whole-bunch, de-stemmed, oaked, unoaked, elegant and floral, dense and structured. This almost endless variety and versatility is what is most fascinating about Gamay grown on Beaujolais’s volcanic soils. What the wines have in common, however, is that they all offer excellent value for money and great drinking pleasure.
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