About this WINE
Young Alex is a volunteer fireman in his spare time, but with a young family and fast-growing domaine, that spare time is increasingly limited. As well as his excellent Beaujolais-Villages and Beaujolais-Lantignié, Alex now produces a Brouilly from a couple of hectares of rented vines, which he hopes eventually to buy.
His Beaujolais-Lantignié is a particularly fine example of what can be achieved in a commune many believe is destined for cru status. The vines here are Alex’s oldest, at over 50 years old, and lie on rocky (blue granite) soils not dissimilar to those of the Côte du Py, in Morgon.
Alex learnt much from his cousin, top Morgon producer Jean-Marc Burgaud, and makes his wines in a similar way, retaining all the stems and using concrete tanks for vinification and ageing.
A clear step up from basic Beaujolais, Villages wines are still light, with the same pear-drop hint to the juicy red fruit, but are richer with more personality; they are well worth paying a little bit extra for. Beaujolais Villages can come from any of 38 named villages, all of which are based in the northern, hilly half of the region on granite soils.
The best vineyards lie around Beaujeu, west of Régnié and Morgon. As long as the wine comes exclusively from that village, estates can add their village to the Beaujolais name on the label (e.g. Beaujolais-Beaujeu) but since most Beaujolais Villages is sold by merchants, who blend together wines from several villages, this is quite rare.
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.
Tom Cannavan, wine-pages.com, Nov 2015