Or so says Georges Duboeuf, so we'll take that with a grain of salt. Though if you search the interwebs for "2015 Beaujolais Vintage," the superlatives are everywhere!
My favorite wine writer, Andrew Jefford, had this to say about the 2015 vintage in Beaujolais, "The growing season, growers reported, unfolded according to the script they would have written for themselves – except that quantities were smaller than they would have liked. The main threat to quality came towards the end of July, when the vines were beginning to show signs of drought stress, but cooler nights and showers in August helped enormously, with most beginning harvest towards the end of that month. Acidities were fresher and balances livelier than in 2009, while the wines avoided some of the hardness of 2005, with a sweeter and more tender style. Beaujolais vinifications are so various and sometimes risk-taking in style, however, that it’s still important to buy on recommendation." That last line there is key.
The good news is that our producer, Château de Raousset, took full advantage of the ideal climatic conditions, and produced a line of wines which we highly recommend! Maybe I'm biased, maybe I'm swayed by its pretty name, but it seems that vintage after vintage, I find their Fleurie "Grille-Midi" to be ideal for my palate. The 2015 is stunning! The aromas are all there, bright red cherry fruit, forest floor, again, maybe it's the name, but there's a hint of something floral going on in there too. On the palate, the wine seems to float gracefully. The fruit is perfectly ripe and the structure is seamless. It comes in at 13% alcohol. One doesn't hear it often, but this Cru Beaujolais can be cellared and should provide plenty of pleasure from now through 2026, if, as Neal Martin says, "you can resist its charms early on."
I don't want to bum anyone out here, but it is fall, and tomorrow is October 1. An enthusiastic Rosé-loving customer picked up a case of her favorite earlier today and let it be known she wasn't ready for summer to be over, though she was accepting that very fact. I always think of Cru Beaujolais as a wine which suits autumn perfectly - that forest floor nuance and all. I also regularly consume, and happily recommend it be served during the fall's biggest holiday, Thanksgiving. That's right. Thanksgiving is next month. That makes socking away a magnum or two a pretty dang good idea. We do also have Raousset's Chiroubles, with its lighter profile, and also their Morgon "Douby", which is a bit more structured and even more age-worthy. Though for me, the Fleurie "Grille-Midi" is just right! - Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2015 Beaujolais, autumn, Thanksgiving wines, or how sweet it is to be rid of the reason I stopped watching my favorite football club for three years: peter@wineSF.com
In the wine biz, one gets good at saying goodbye; we all have our favorites, but once they sell out, it’s time to move on. It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, we get a second (and sometimes third and fourth) chance to repurchase a favorite wine, and then we wait for it to make its way overseas here to our shop. This weekend’s wine spotlight is on one of these wines. Won’t you please welcome back to the shop, the 2010 Château de Malleret, Haut-Médoc.
It went down something like this: In the spring of 2014, while on assignment in Bordeaux for the En Primeur tastings, I made a handful of appointments with suppliers to taste some of their already bottled inventory. It was at one of these meetings that 24 sample bottles were open and available for tasting. I went through the line, swirling, sniffing, tasting, spitting, and jotting down notes. All in all, it was a successful tasting because I liked 8 or 9 of the wines, but it was one of them that sent me over the moon. Yes, it was the 2010 Malleret. When I returned from Bordeaux, I sat down with David and we discussed the new vintage and the wines that I tasted. When he asked me how much Malleret we should buy, it marked the very first time I answered, “Well, at least a pallet.” I should point out another characteristic about being in the wine biz – it teaches you patience. The wine finally arrived in early 2015 and was gone shortly thereafter. We made a lot of friends with that wine, and said goodbye after it was gone.
Early this year, I was surprised to come across the 2010 Malleret while reading through a supplier’s price list and mentioned it to David. Without hesitation, we secured the wine, and thanks to a recent container’s arrival, it’s here now. I have secured my six bottles for the cellar, so come and get it! I say that I want a few bottles in the cellar because when I came back from Bordeaux in 2014, I found a bottle of the 2000 Malleret for sale at a very fair price. I hadn't had much experience with this chateau before, so I wanted to taste an older vintage to better understand their style. It was outstanding! Which leads me to deduce that perhaps this chateau doesn’t exactly knock it out of the park every vintage, but when they do, the wine can last. So based on my experience with the 2000 Malleret, I feel the 2010 will still be drinking well in 2024.
I took a bottle home this past week, grilled up some steaks, and used the super fancy stemware. The wine was sensational! It has put on a little muscle, but there’s plenty of dark berry and cassis fruit there to keep it in balance. The aromatics are complex: the fruit is layered, there are earthy elements, and there’s a tobacco and forest floor herbaceous facet to them. The palate entry is easy, it’s well balanced, medium-full bodied, with the purple-red fruit at its core. The finish is long and layered, with the fruit and forest floor lingering. I realize that everyone has their own taste, but this is my kind of wine … and the price is right! Pure and simple.
Things are exciting around here. Two containers are on the water, headed this way. There’s going to be some Bordeaux on one of them – another over the moon discovery from this year’s trip, courtesy of one of our suppliers. It’s a 2014 Saint-Estephe; stay tuned for its arrival! The annual three week celebration known as Birthdayfest has begun, and will continue through mid-September. I have a hunch there will be a few special bottles popped in my near future. Maybe a bottle or two of something I put in my cellar before we said goodbye to it a long time ago? - Peter Zavialoff