Brett happens

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MWG November 11th tasting: Gamay or not Gamay

with 5 comments

St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil 2013, L’Hurluberlu, Sébastien David ($24.00, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Cabernet Franc. Manually harvested, fermented with indigenous yeasts. Vinified Beaujolais style – using carbonic maceration – and given a very short maturation in tanks, with bottling occurring early in the new year following harvest. Unfiltered. No added sulphur. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Ferny, slatey, plummy, red-berried nose that eventually gave up some whiffs of jalapeño. Pure, clean fruit, bright but not harsh acidity and soft tannins that turn a little raspy on the tangy finish. “Surprising depth for such a light wine,” noted one taster. “Like health juice,” said another. Served lightly chilled or even cooler, this is irresistibly drinkable. (Buy again? A bit pricey for such an easy-drinker but yes, in multiples.)

Côtes du Forez 2013, La Volcanique, Cave Verdier-Logel ($21.06, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Based in Marcilly-le-Châtel, the certified organic 17-hectare estate grows Gamay and a little Pinot Gris and Viognier. This cuvée is 100% Gamay from old vines rooted in basalt soil. Manually harvested. Macerated 15 days at around 19°C. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Lightly filtered (earth filters) before bottling. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Lovely nose: cedar, plum, dark minerals and papier d’arménie. Supple, dry and medium-bodied. The combination of rocky minerals, lean fruit, trenchant acidity, light but sinewy tannins and earthy finish give the wine a rustic appeal that its Beaujo counterparts lack. Seems to cry out for some charcuterie (the winemaker also suggests pot au feu and rabbit stew). Understandably a hit with many around the table. (Buy again? For sure.)

The estate first impinged on my consciousness at the Salon des vins d’importation privée, where I tasted the Vin de France 2012, Les FMR, Gamay, Cave Verdier-Logel ($19.00, La QV/Insolte, 12 bottles/case). This one-off 100% Gamay cuvée was made from sustainably farmed Côteaux Lyonnais grapes that neighbouring winegrowers donated to the estate to replace the crop it lost to hail (in French, FMR sounds like éphémère, ephemeral). Though I didn’t taste the wines side by side, this struck me as a slightly lighter version of the Volcanique and, at under $20, definitely worth buying.

Chiroubles 2013, Damien Coquelet ($32.25, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Now in his mid-20s, Coquelet is the stepson of renowned natural Beaujolais producer Georges Descombes. He began working in the family’s vineyards and cellars when he was five and has been making his own wines since 2007. Besides this cuvée, he produces an old-vine Chiroubles, a Morgon, a Beaujolais-Villages and the wildly popular, semi-nouveau Fou du Beaujo. This 100% Gamay is made from organically farmed, manually harvested grapes. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Depending on the vintage, no or minimal sulphur is used. Coquelet typically bottles his cru wines a year before his stepfather, which makes them fruitier and juicier. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Classic Chiroubles: perfumy, supple, silky and bright but, like the other 2013 Beaujolais I’ve tried, a little on the light side – or so it seemed coming on the heels of the other two wines in this flight. That said, the mix of tart red berries, vine sap, graphite, black pepper and hints of flowers and animale is magnetic. (Buy again? Sure.)

(Flight: 7/9)

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5 Responses

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  1. Hi Carswell,
    I love your comment on L’Hurluberlu, it really is an easy-drinker with depth and gastronomic potential in my view. It’s also a bit pricey for the style, but each time I open a bottle it doesn’t last long, so I guess one can agree the pleasure goes ahead of the price !
    JB

    Raisin breton

    December 7, 2014 at 19:28

    • Thanks for commenting, JB. Glad to know you read the blog. Agreed about the wine’s gastronomic potential, tho’ it’s plenty delicious on its own. And while a bottle would ideally run, oh, $4 cheaper, the price didn’t really appear to be an impediment to the MWG members who tasted it: many ordered multiple bottles.

      carswell

      December 8, 2014 at 00:32

  2. […] that the Loire has always held a monopoly on. Somebody send these people a case of David’s Hurluberlu or Breton’s Trinch! (Buy again? At $17.95, maybe. At $11.75, for […]

  3. […] balanced yet appealingly rustic. To my surprise, this didn’t create the same sensation that the 2013 did (different contexts?). (Buy again? […]

  4. […] vintage so richer, rounder, more extracted and conventional, less “like health juice” than some earlier versions. Still refreshing due to its bright acidity, supple tannins and pure fruit. Good, ultradrinkable […]


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