“This 13-hectare Domaine produces some of the longest-lived and most serious wines in the Beaujolais. Old vines, cultivated soils, a late harvest and classical winemaking with semi-carbonic maceration, long macerations and a submerged cap are the rudiments of the approach. These are inky, saturated reds with plenty of character and structure, and the top cuvées will have no trouble evolving for two decades." Robertparker.com
We recently had a look through the (almost one year) archive of Press and were surprised to see we’d only put up one Beaujolais. Surprised because it's one of our favourite sources for red wine, offering so much interest and quality at what are still modest prices for quality French vin rouge.
Beaujolais is a stretch of vineyard land that runs north-south between Lyon and Dijon (Burgundy). From a quality perspective, we look for wines that are referred to as Cru Beaujolais, which is a wine from one of ten top villages in Beaujolais that each have their own personality. If you enjoy the wines of Beaujolais, the crus worth knowing are (north to south) Saint Armour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnie, Cotes-de-Brouilly and Brouilly. This week’s wine if from one of the most well-regarded cru of Morgon, and more specifically, from in and around the Cote du Py hillside vineyard and the Javerniere vineyard. It is also from one of the most consistent, unique and quality driven wineries, Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes.
Domaine Desvignes is multi-generational though is now run by young brother and sister team Benoit and Emmanuelle Desvignes. They are the eighth generation to farm the vineyards and make the wines, Emmanuelle commencing in 2001 and Benoit a few years later, in 2004. In that time, they have converted the vineyard to organic farming, working the sites by hand. They experiment and push boundaries in the cellar, and produce some of the richer, more structured and age-worthy wines of the region.
Their wines are built to age, with long ferments and cellaring in concrete tanks. In their youth, the wines show intense flavours of dark cherry, raspberry and black currant, with white pepper, aniseed and liquorice spices. With age, the wines are more earthy, integrated, soft, with floral flavours, coffee and cocoa. Whilst they are all from Gamay, they age and unfurl more like high quality Pinot Noir.
The duo farm incredible sites, with vines aged between 40 years and 100 years. The soils are crumbly, crystalline rich in iron oxides, with layers of manganese, schist and ancient volcanic rock. This week we are offering three wines from the winery, to introduce you to the producer and the area of Morgon. They are all from the excellent, though forward and fruit driven vintage of 2018. Drinking windows are suggested, and if you’d like to get your hands on some of the other wines from Desvignes, please reach out.
Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon La Voûte Saint-Vincent 2018
100% Gamay. Awesome entry in to the Desvignes range, the La Voûte Saint Vincent cuvee comes from various estate parcels in the Morgon climat of Douby, north of the Côte du Py and bordering Fleurie. Douby has deeper, sandier, granitic soils and yields a more supple style of Morgon compared to Py's famously muscular one. The vines for La Voûte average 60 years old. Drink this wine from 2021 through until 2028.
92 Vinous Media, 91 Robert Parker
“An expressive bouquet displays mineral-accented red/blue fruit qualities, along with subtle white pepper and allspice flourishes. Juicy and penetrating in the mouth, offering bitter cherry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors that turn sweeter with aeration. Closes with bright, incisive thrust, slow-building tannins and persistent red berry and mineral qualities.”
“The 2018 Morgon La Voute Saint Vincent bursts with aromas of cherries, blackberries, rose petals and licorice. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, fleshy and succulent, with fine structuring tannins and a pretty, charming profile”
Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon Montpelain 2018
100% Gamay. The parcel is of 80-year-old vines on silty soils of sand and clay, on a level site on the eastern edge of the Morgon cru near the Fleurie line. It belongs to Desvignes but was always folded into their La Voûte Saint Vincent bottling until 2017. This is the second vintage of the parcel bottled on its own and it’s clear that it yields a more intense and rich wine. Drink this wine now through until 2035.
91+ Robert Parker
Flavours of “cassis, dark chocolate and dried flowers. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, rich and voluptuous, with a blockier, more structured profile.”
Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon Côte du Py Javernière
100% Gamay. This vineyard has vines averaging 65 years old, though with some going back to 1912, in the historic Morgon lieu-dit of Javernières at the foot of the famous hill of the Côte du Py. This wine tends to be softer, more red-toned and elegant versus the darker, more muscular ones off of the Côte du Py. It is pure, floral, complex, long and well structured. Drink this wine from 2022 through until 2040.
95 Robert Parker
"...superb, bursting from the glass with a captivating bouquet of violets, raspberries, dark chocolate and smoky blackberries. On the palate, it's full-bodied, velvety and layered, with a deep and multidimensional core, succulent acids and powdery tannins. Beautifully balanced and structurally refined despite its power and concentration, this is worth a special effort to seek out."
We hope you love and enjoy these special wines.
Tom and Dan.