Keeping our range of wine fresh and new is a constant challenge for us. Balancing the need to keep customer favourites and best sellers on the shelf, whilst constantly keeping the range new and interesting is difficult to do without ending up needing an aircraft hangar! Those of you who know our shops will know that we are the antithesis of "hangar" so from time to time we have a good old review of our range. This autumn we focused on Rhône and Burgundy, two regions where we wanted something new. Here are a selection of the new wines from these regions that have arrived on our shelves this week!
Okay, so Beaujolais isn’t officially in Burgundy, but it is at the region’s southern-most tip. The main black grape variety is Gamay compared to Pinot Noir in Burgundy. Style wise Beaujolais is softer, a bit more cherry like. However, this wine is one of the Cru Beaujolais (there are ten villages to which the term “cru” can be added). Morgon as a style is probably the richest, deepest style of Beaujolais and this one from Domaine de Collette is no exception. The estate is managed by Jacky Gauthier and his family. They are very eco-aware and practice “lutte raisonnée” or biodynamic viticulture. This translates to an absolutely sensational Morgon that we can't recommend highly enough, full of black cherry fruit, earthy bramble notes and supple tannins.
Guillaume Gonnet is not your average Rhône winemaker. His energy and charisma are typical of many winemakers but his open attitude and boundary challenging approach goes way beyond just wine.
He’s well travelled and plied his trade in Australia and New Zealand (whilst taking the opportunity to surf, obviously). He married an Australian and now he and Kelly make sensational Grenache based Rhône wines, following biodynamic viticulture where possible and allowing the wines to express themselves with a “hands-off” attitude in the winery. We took two wines from this producer:
An absolute barn-stormer of a Rhône red. Full of bramble fruit, spice and wild thyme. Puts many a lesser Châteauneuf to shame (but not its big brother below of course).
A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, this wine is medium to full bodied with plum, blackberry, mocha, liquorice and all spice notes, wrapped up in a wild herb blanket. One of those wines where it really is worth paying that little bit more for.
This estate is quite small sat only 10 hectares, with vineyards planted mainly with an old Syrah clone called Serine. The bunches of grapes are small clusters of loose grapes which result in a particularly aromatic style of wine. With a sustainable agriculture ethos, no use of herbicides, pesticides or chemicals, this Cote Rotie speaks for itself. Deep notes of blackberry, spice, vanilla, white pepper and leather.
This 15.5 hectare family run property is located in the north part of the Cote de Beaune. Only 1.5 hectares is planted with Chardonnay. Pierre Cornu and his wife Edith and cousin Emmanuel now run the property. Edmond, now retired, still lends support and advice. They follow very much a respect of nature operation in the vineyards, allowing other flora to grow between the vines, creating a harmonious balance. This Meursault comes from 40yo Chardonnay vines. Fermentation takes place in barrel giving a gold colour, butter, white peach and honey notes on the nose and palate. A complex wine in every mouthful.
PRODUCER FOCUS - Domaine Marchand Grillot
Much like the vines, The Marchand and Grillot families are well rooted in the soil of Burgundy. Stretching back six generations, the Marchands were ensconced in Morey St Denis and the Grillots in Gevrey Chambertin.
Domaine Marchand-Grillot came about in 1950 due to marriage of the two families. Jacques Marchand runs the estate and his son Etienne is slowly taking over responsibilities. The aim of the estate is to create traditional styles of red Burgundy, respecting the Pinot Noir grape and it’s terroir. We took two wines from this producer:
Ruby red colour with layers of fragrance - forest mushrooms, wild game and black cherry fruit for balance. The palate is medium bodied with notes of spice, mushroom, game, leather and black fruit.
Ruby purple colour with quite an intense savoury and sandalwood nature to the nose. The palate shows classic barnyard and undergrowth notes of red Burgundy with a subtle cedar edge. Smooth and silky tannins make this very pleasant indeed.
From 18 hectares of prime old vine vineyards and small yields of grapes at optimum ripeness and concentration of flavours at harvest time come wines of splendour and magnificence. Keeping viticulture as simple and nature loving as possible, Samuel and Lenaic Legros are allowed the freedom to express themselves through their wines. This Puligny Montrachet has a great streak of minerality running through the concentration of lemon, white peach and melon fruits. Just a touch of oak in the background so as to not overwhelm the purity of this wine.
There are some really special wines here to start exploring if you love really good French wine. Next up in our range review will be the USA and Canada and we've already found some absolutely storming wines from California and Ontario. Watch this space!