2016 Domaine Rochette
Sweet-fruited nose. Bit ‘purple’. School pencils and graphite and chalk and dusty red plums. Lots of tang wrapped in a silky scarf of tannins. A wine you just really want to drink. Vin de soif. Prances, kicking its heels, but on light feet. GV Drinking range: 2018 - 2023 Tamlyn Currin - www.JancisRobinson.com (May 2018)
*Case price: Mix any 12 bottles of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
The Rochette family estate was new to us at the end of 2009, and a very happy discovery indeed. The Beaujolais Villages and Régnié come from 50 year-old vines on stony-sandy soils on a granite bedrock,. The Rochettes work with a very traditional but also clearly very rigorous approach to the viticulture, and, as usual in Beaujolais, where the 'gobelet' training of the vines make them impossible to work by machine, they hand-pick and make a severe selection in the vineyard. Vinification is traditional, in cuve, to make wines which accentuate fruit purity.
The wines have a real identity of their own - as Matthieu says 'it is the terroir that gives us the distinction to the wines - we do not interfere in the cellar - and they all come from the same grape' - Gamay. When tasting the line up in the cellars with the family this incredible distinction could not have been more clear - from the bouncy Beaujolais Villages through the Régniés and on to the Morgon distinct personalities are dramatically different - fascinating. Very sadly Joël died in 2015 - but Matthieu is continuing his father's great work without missing a beat ably supported by his wonderful mother, Chantal. These wines simply sing. Charming and real - a great bargain from these beautiful rolling hills.
Unfortunately, the word "Beaujolais" has become all too readily attached to the word "Nouveau". There's nothing wrong with a bit of fun, and at its best the old Beaujolly Nouveau is fun with a party hat on. But there is a lot more to Beaujolais than young wines being raced across France in sports cars and fruity red wine with your breakfast. Those in the know are starting to purr appreciatively over the wines of the Beaujolais crus. These are the villages whose wines are good enough to be elevated above the generic Beaujolais name and have been given their own appellations. It's all Gamay, so bright crisp fruit is the story of the day, but there's more - there's a silky feel almost occasionally redolent of Pinot Noir and even an ability to improve with a little age. From the subtle delights of Fleurie to the gently peppered Morgon, albeit all on the light side, this is a case that will enhance any wine lovers cellar/wine rack/cupboard under the stairs.
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