Friday, August 26, 2011

2009 Beaujolais Tasting Lineup and Profiles of Selected Producers

In preparation for our upcoming 2009 Beaujolais Tasting, I have provided an overview of the Beaujolais sub-region, elaborated on the Beaujolais appellations, discussed the characteristics of the Gamay grape, and sang the praises of the 2009 vintage.  Based on the foregoing, the wines in the table below have been selected to allow us a taste-through of the sub-region.  In order to round out the coverage that has been provided to date, I

will profile the producers, beginning with Domaine du Vissoux and Domaine des Terres Dorées -- two producers with similar viniculture philosophies -- in this post.

Domaine du Vissoux

Domaine du Vissoux product will be used for our sparkling, Fleurie, and Brouilly wines.  The estate, located primarily in the hamlet of Vissoux, is owned by Martine and Pierre-Marie Chermette and the main property is a southeast-facing parcel sited on a bed of granite and planted to Gamay (14 hectares, Beaujolais) and Chardonnay (0.5 hectare, Beaujolais Blanc).  The Gamay vines range between 75- and 90-years old while the Chardonnay vines are approximately 25-years old.  The estate also grows another 0.5 hectare of Chardonnay grapes on 25-year-old vines in the nearby hamlet of Nandry and, further, has vineyards in Oingt-Le Bois à Oingt (6 hectares of Chardonnay), Brouilly (15 hectares), Fleurie (4.5 hectares), and Moulin-à-Vent (4.5 hectares).

The estate pursues an "integrated agriculture" policy with practices such as: (i) tilling or shallow ploughing between vines (or, alternately, grassing); (ii) yield control through hand-pruning; and (iii) growth management (budding, branch thinning).  Grapes are picked manually at optimal ripeness and are sorted both in the vineyard and in the cellar.

The estate's vinification practices are minimalist in order to provide the best environment for the character of the fruit to shine through.  Unlike most of the producers in Beaujolais, Domaine du Vissoux uses natural yeasts rather than 71B, the tomato-based, industrial yeast which is thought by some to impart candy and banana aromas and flavors to the wine. Further, little or no sugar is added to the must to increase the alcohol levels and little or no sulfur is added.  Grapes are vinified using semi-carbonic fermentation with twice-a-day pump overs beginning after two or three days of maceration.  The maceration periods are: 4 to 6 days for Beaujolais Nouveau; 6 to 8 days for "spring Beaujolais;" and 10 to 12 days for cru.  The macerated grapes are then pressed in a pneumatic press.

Domaine des Terres Dorées

Domaine des Terres Dorées product will be used for our Beaujolais Blanc and Moulin-à-Vent wines. Domaine des Terres Dorées is located in Charnay, a village about 30-minutes drive from Lyon, in an area called The Golden Stone Region (so called because the color of the limestone used in its historic buildings imparts a "warm, golden-brown complexion" to these stone houses).  The owner and winemaker is Jean-Paul Brun.  The primary vineyard is a 25-hectare parcel sited on permeable clay and limestone soil and planted to Gamay.  Jean-Paul also farms a 3-hectare Chardonnay plot and a 2-hectare Pinot Noir plot in close proximity to the main vineyard.  Further afield he owns small, granite-based parcels in Moulin-à-Vent, Morgon, and Côte de Brouilly.

Jean-Paul's style leans to the traditional with an emphasis on allowing the fruit to shine through unencumbered.  Like Domaine du Vissoux, he uses indigenous yeasts, does not chaptalize, and uses little or no sulfur.  Further, he does not filter his wines due to a belief that filtering strips out some of the natural flavors of the wine.


I will cover the remaining producers in subsequent posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment