Bojo has not been so revered in decades: once famous as a feel good factor, fun jovial zests, immediately gratifying, yet with no real substance! No not the politician who is rather akin to Beaujolais Nouveau, rather Beaujolais the wine region, which has at last begun to shake off this ugly chapter. For one of the most fascinating wine regions in the world is Beaujolais, now that Le Beaujolais Nouveau est passe and the pedigree of the region, so closely oriented and linked the Cote d’Or, is undergoing a renaissance. To understand why this is significant we should consider the history of Beaujolais. The leading Beaujolais Crus started in parallel with its Northern bedfellows, the great vines of the Cote d’Or: originally planted by the Romans, whose names predominate throughout the region today. This was followed by Benedictine monks, then ruled by the Lords of Beuleu, before being ceded to the Duke of Burgundy in the 15th century. The region was largely restricted to the markets along the Rhone and Saone, most importantly the wealthy town of Lyon. French railroads opened up further markets, with Paris becoming very important. However, it was Lyon with its wealth generating silk trade that saw Noblemen buy Chateau as their summer homes, considering the wines of the region on par with the wine from Cote d’Or. Indeed, at the turn of the 20th century the vineyards cost and retail sales prices of Beaujolais were in line with Burgundy 1er Crus.
However, by the 1970s Beaujolais sales had reached their nadir, resulting in the marketing ploy of Beaujolais Nouveau. It was a huge success for the flagging industry and very powerful for half of the regions production, which was consumed before the year end, it truly undermined the more serious Estates, which were left in its wake, tainted! While it was great fun to rush on the third Thursday of November to breakfasts to drink the wine, the reality was an easy drinking wine made to be consumed, not to age. This has all changed now, the sons and daughters of the established wine marketing families, coined in principle as the young Turks. The world’s leading viticulturally standards and wine making practices abound in the region today. They have been authorised to begin their own classification of 1er Cru sites, a recognition and acceptance of the quality and complexity. Outside investment is piling in, with Burgundians asserting more dominance in the influential Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie and Brouilly. The classification has begun a phase of scientific study in the great terroirs of the ten cru villages. With the advent of 1er Cru classifications and ensuing global accreditation of the quality prices are likely to rise. Burgundians are now developing aged Beaujolais, which is being pioneered by Chateau de Jacques, which has been owned by Louis Jadot since 1996. Their scientific research is helping define the crus, spearheaded from their plots, some of the finest in the region. Beaujolais’ return from the doldrums is to the advantage of collectors in the know, for the leading wines remain the best value fine wine to be found anywhere in Burgundy and probably France. The regions to the south of Beaujolais, which overproduced during the Beaujolais Nouveau boom, are being given back to corn and other crops!
This renaissance fortuitously coincides with its greatest vintage in 60 years, compared to the legendary 1947. The 2015 vintage is phenomenal, rich, dense, velvety, combining complexity and power, with plenty of freshness, with Gamay’s naturally high acidity. In fact, its cut and thrust makes the Gamay grape appear more like Grenache, Syrah and Pinot Noir. The wines are age worthy and a brilliant exemplar of what Beaujolais and Gamay can achieve, from some of the oldest vines in France. We recently visited the region to explore the recent hype and the 2015s deliver, with sweet spice, forest floor, smoke and vanilla, already showing tertiary flavours, dried fruits and white chocolate, taking on notes similar to pinot noir with age. The versatility of Gamay, makes the wines so interesting, which comes as no surprise when DNA analysis show it to be the progeny of Pinot Noir and the now rare Gouais Blanc. This means it is related to all the Pinots, Chardonnay and Muscadet. The 2015 vintage, which already has bottle age is a perfect way to begin a journey to discover or rediscover a region in the process and ascendency.
Today we are delighted to release chateau stock of Chateau des Jacques Moulin a Vent de Rochegres 2015. This is particularly special as the aforementioned estates has been at the forefront of research and the vanguard of creating Burgundy style age worthy wines since it was bought by Louis Jadot. However, it is recognised as one of the greatest historical estates, thereon synthesising the old and the new. We tasted numerous vintages dating back to 1976 through to 2017. The wines can age and improve and the 2015 stands out, it is this we are delighted to offer today. It has been awarded 94 points by James Suckling, his joint second highest scoring wine in 2015. We have secured the price from the Estate at the release price per case of six at a brilliant £100, giving it a Price Over Points Ratio of 14, which confirms it to be one of the best price quality wine we have come across.
Of it Suckling attests ‘Extremely rich aromas of crushed ripe berries and hints of forest fruit. Stones, too. Dense, full-bodied, mineral and creamy with a stoney undertone. Crazy wine. Great Beaujolais.’ This score is backed up by Vinous Media who has awarded is 93 points, again one of the finest scores ever for a Beaujolais. Josh Raynolds describing it as ‘Youthful violet. Powerful, mineral-accented cassis, cherry and violet scents pick up vanilla and woodsmoke nuances in the glass. Stains the palate with chewy dark berry, bitter cherry and mocha flavors that take a sweeter turn on the back half. Continues to open up on the impressively persistent finish, which features dusty tannins and a whiplash of sappy dark fruit.’ Priced at £16 per bottle, this offers brilliant value, from a very exciting region and a leading Estate. It can be enjoyed now, or cellared for twenty years. The current vintage releases are the fine 2017s, however, this offer is not to be missed, the 2015s demand attention!