Widely known as “The Queen of Beaujolais” the Cru of Fleurie is set on the steep slopes at the foot of La Madone. 90% of the soil here is pink granitic, which is dry & acidic and creates these wonderfully lifted wines that are elegantly floral and still ripe and juicy. Breton has done it again.
You know the gang by now–Lapierre, Foillard, and Breton. These guys banded up in their twenties to (help) change the world of French wine, natural wine, and Beaujolais forever. But the name Thévenet, the fourth gang of Four member, rarely gets mentioned. That's partially because Jean-Paul makes far less wine than the others. The single wine he makes, perhaps the most elegant and long-lived expression of Morgon I've ever tasted is a true study on that lovely village. It is high-toned, zesty, and lightly funk in its youth, and can age like great Burgundy–if, unlike me, you have the patience to wait. I've gone through chilled bottle after chilled bottle this summer. If you love Beaujolais and haven't yet experienced Thévenet's rendition, now's the time to do it!
José Manuel of Alzania has made natural, low-intervention wine out of the Navarra region of northern Spain for over 20 years. “Gardacho” takes its name from a mythical dragon, stories of which have entertained local children for generations. The 100% Garnacha juice inside is as fun as the name suggests. Chill down and enjoy with barbeque!
Spicy, smoky, and complex, this bottle contains many different native red grape varieties, some of them unidentified, but include Listan Negro, Listan Gaucho, Malvasia Negro. The untrained vines grow gnarly, and the resulting wine is just as wild.
As much fun to drink as it is to say, Chiroubles (SHI-roob) is a serious underdog Cru in Beaujolais. Chiroubles stands out because it contains some of the highest elevation plots in all of Beaujolais, which translates to cooler nighttime temps and a freshness of flavor unmatched in the region. Bright and quaffable.
Domaine Costal is a collaboration between Kermit Lynch and Jean Collet, one of Chablis’ best known growers. Les Truffières is a single-vineyard bottling from just outside the village, aged in old barrel and steel. You’ll find notes of chalky minerals, bright yellow fruits, and beeswax. Drink with shellfish.
Jean-Louis Dutraive is a definite name to know in the Beaujolais wine region. He has been making some of the most pure expressions of Gamay since 1977. This particular bottle is silky smooth with notes of wild berries, fresh herbs, and violets. Drink often and with friends.
Dutraive Fleurie Cuvee Vieilles Vignes Les Clos 2020
The Clusel family is one to know about in the Northern Rhône, as pioneers of organic farming in their region. Nestled in the Côte Rôtie, they farm overwhelmingly beautiful vineyards on clifflike granite hillsides. Their Rouge “Serine” is a muscular wine, with pronounced dark fruit. It’s rich and amazing.
Pinot Noir was regarded as the star of Saint-Aubin, but the Larue family has changed the narrative. This youthful Chardonnay is elegant and refined. The limestone soils of the region lend sharp mineral notes that are perfectly balanced with notes of orchard fruit and hazelnuts.
Coming from a family of vignerons, Yann Bertrand is bringing a fresh take on the great wines of cru Beaujolais. He may be young, but with the guidance of the masters, he’s rising to the top of the new generation of Beaujolais producers at lightning speed.
Ditch the Pageant, Join the Party: France Breton Talks Natural Wine and a New Era at the Domaine