About this WINE
Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes
This fabled domaine, based in the town of Villié-Morgon, is today run by siblings Louis-Benoît and Claude-Emmanuelle Desvignes – the eighth generation of their family to make wine in Beaujolais. It is renowned for producing concentrated, age-worthy Morgon wines, which gain exceptional complexity with time in bottle.
Benoît and Emmanuelle (as they prefer to be called) have, in recent years, updated the winery and begun farming organically, but their method of vinification is the same as their forebears’: semi-carbonic maceration, with a grille to keep the cap submerged. The length of the maceration varies from cuvée to cuvée, being around 10 days for the relatively early-drinking Voûte Saint-Vincent, but longer for Javernières and Les Impénitents, of which only a tiny quantity is produced from a parcel of century-old vines.
From the 2018 vintage, the Desvignes are also producers of our Own Selection Beaujolais-Villages.
With 1100 ha of vines, Morgon is the second largest Cru after Brouilly, producing wines that are only marginally less powerful than those of Moulin-à-Vent. Certainly Morgon’s are the firmest in the region, with a bouquet of great purity and compact Gamay fruit. Morgon needs more time than other Crus before it can be broached - normally 2-3 years for its most serious exponents – and develop its rich, savoury flavours which lead to a Pinot Noir-like maturity.
The ‘Classico’ heart of the Morgon region is the Mont du Py, just south of the commune of Villié-Morgon. The finest wines almost exclusively come from its Côte de Py slope, whose aspect and rich schistous soil contribute to greater ripeness, and yield wines that are denser than anywhere else in the appellation. As you would expect from a region of this size the character and quality of Morgon can vary considerably, but the best are as good, and as sturdy and long-lived, as any other Beaujolais you will find.
Recommended Producers: François Calot, Maurice Gaget, Louis-Claude Desvignes.
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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Javernières hails from the eponymous lieu-dit, at the foot of the Côte du Py in Morgon. Here, schist gives way to soils of deep clay, resulting in rich, concentrated wines, which pinote (become Pinot-like) as they age. Eighth-generation vigneron Louis-Benoît Desvignes attributes this cuvée’s depth of colour to its long, slow vinification – with no punching down, but a grille to keep the macerating fruit submerged – in open concrete vats. The 2016 is exceptionally ripe and open, with red fruit aromas to the fore and subtle savoury notes just behind. It boasts supple tannins but lively acidity, and a long, saline finish. Drink 2019-2025.
Will Heslop, 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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