Tasting T1.7 Beaujolais & Chalonnaise

Looking ever closer at some lesser known villages here. Delving into the world of the southern Burgundy region and Beaujolais. Starting with Beaujolais first and foremost, this is a rather rustic and old school region however their crus do offer some great wines. Utilising the Gamay grape variety these are generally dark fruit and earthy wines, certainly with an ability to age. The 10 crus do offer really good wines at great value, certainly better value than their Burgundian cousins. Over the last decade Beaujolais has really noticed a lot more press, partly because 2014 through to 2019 vintages have been fantastic. However, in all honesty, the winemakers themselves have become better. They are using modern methods of vine management and becoming more adventurous in their wine making. Thus creating some really fantastic wines.

Moving over to Chalonnaise (just north of Beaujolais and Maconnais) this is Pinot Noir heartland along with the Cote d’Or of Burgundy. The main villages within this sub region are Montagny, Givry, Rully and Mercurey. Montagny is more a white appellation so we are focusing on Givry, Rully and Mercurey. All three villages produce a bevy of great wines again for great value. They are generally smoother and really gain from the extra heat they get being further south. Each village offers 1er Cru wines as well so there are clear quality markers along the way. These wines are generally fresh with classic red fruit and bold flavour profiles. Good for early drinking and again for ageing across 8-10 years. So let’s crack on!

The Wineries are:

Maison Dominique Piron

It is known that roughly 14 generations of the Dominique Piron family have been vintners. That is some serious history. Etienne Bailly is the oldest known ancestor of Dominique Piron and he was born in 1590. Julien Revillon is the current owner of Maison Piron and is situated in Morgon. The Maison produces exquisitely fruit forward wines that are extremely low in tannin. This allows the wines to be enjoyed young, whilst utilising a long fermentation before pressing which allows the wines to age for several years as well.

Domaine Guy Breton

Guy Breton took over from his father in 1986 which is when everything changed. Up to 1986 the Domaine was selling all of their grapes to the large cooperative wineries. However, Guy (and three others) said no. They called for a return to the traditional methods of producing Beaujolais (as Beaujolais Nouveau was really starting to tarnish the regio as a whole). Since then Guy Breton has been synonymous with quality Beaujolais wines, specifically from Morgon.

Domaine de la Folie

Located in Chagny, this estate has 13 hectares of vines including Rully 1er Cru among the most prestigious. Baptiste and Clemence Dubrulle took on the estate in 2010 and have been producing outstanding wines ever since. This has certainly grown the reputation of the region and of the particular villages themselves.

Domaine de Villaine

Aubert de Villaine of Domaine Romanee-Conti (producer of the most expensive wines in Burgundy) established this Domaine in 1971. His nephew Pierre de Benoist now runs it. Extremely great pedigree.

Domaine Joblot

Formed by Charles Joblot as Givry was recognised as an appellation controlee in 1946. This 14 hectare Domaine has been handed down through the generations to Juliet, Charles great-granddaughter, in 2012. It is now rightfully one of the top Domaines in the Chalonnaise producing excellent red and white Givry.

Domaine de l’Europe

Guy Cinquin and Chantal Cote created this estate. Chantal was a winemaker in Burgundy and Guy Cinquin was a seriously good Hot Air Baloonist… quite literally to the point where he won medals and everything. It was very impressive to be fair, his wines on the other hand are even more impressive. We did actually import his wines for a few years and they were seriously good. Unfortunately they decided to sell up and go and do something else so his wines are tough to find, but if you can I would highly recommend it.

Tonight’s tasters are David, Harry, Kim & Jen.

Maison Dominique Piron Morgon Cote de Puy 2019

100% Gamay. Aged for 10 months in new oak barrels (33%) and concrete tanks.

Note: Gorgeous savoury aromas with game, herbs and dark fruit prominent, nice and earthy. Silky smooth on the palate with great texture and concentration of fruit and herbaceous notes. Freshness with good acidity, those gamey notes really adding great savoury mouthfeel. A very nice, light medium body which has firm but integrating tannins. Vibrant, fresh and pure with excellent longevity on the palate. Really ice and drinking well now and over the next 5 years.

Domaine Guy Breton Morgon P’tit Max 2019

100% Gamay. Coming from low yielding 130 year old vines. 100% Whole-cluster fermentation. Ageing in barrels using 2nd, 3rd and 4th use barrels.

Note: Lots of blue and black fruit on the nose, gorgeously perfumed with damson, rosemary and thyme. Smooth and supple on the palate with such elegance. Fantastic blue fruit notes with black raspberries and cherries coming through nicely. Again good notes of game and savoury earthy notes. There is great freshness here and nicely balanced with some great density on the mid-palate. Good tannins nicely embedding and adding depth to a lovely long finish. Drinking well now and will certainly evolve over the next 5-8 years.

Domaine de la Folie Rully Cuvee Marey 2019

100% Pinot Noir. Manual harvesting with sorting. 100% Destemming, fermentation under rack with pumping over and ageing in 20% new oak barrels.

Note: Lots of farmyard, soil and dark fruit aromas here. Incredibly smooth on the palate with fine tannins. Layers of dark cherries, blueberries and black raspberries throughout. Complex and concise across the palate with great savoury soil notes towards the back. Lovely freshness, quality of fruit is great and this is clean and precise. Elegance exudes from this wine with great finesse. A lovely long finish and this is drinking so well. Certainly drink now and over the next 5 years. 

Domaine de Villaine Rully 1er Cru Cloux 2018

100% Pinot Noir.

Note: Gorgeous red cherries with lots of herbs, vanilla and earthy aromas. Lots of fruit and lots of power here with excellent complexity and depth of flavour on the palate. Earthy notes really coming through with nice cherries and powerful, fine tannins. Very good balance with lovely acidity offering up freshness and good vibrancy. Powerful, brooding and this is drinking very nicely now. Certainly will evolve over the next 8-10 years.

Domaine Joblot Givry 1er Cru L’Empreinte 2018

100& Pinot Noir. This wine has been created from a batch of each of the Domaine’s 1er Cru Vineyards.

Note: Lots of red fruit aromas, red cherries, strawberries and raspberries on the nose. On the palate, this is singing. Gorgeously fruit forward with a luscious body and such concentration of flavour. Purity of fruit is king here with such elegance and depth of fruit. Great complexity with excellent power and balance. Lovely freshness and that zippy acidity just cutting through those fruit notes with ease. Complex, exciting and just lovely. A really good, long finish and this is drinking beautifully now. Certainly will evolve over the next 8-10 years.

Domaine de l’Europe Mercurey Levitation 2016

100% Pinot Noir.

Note: Red fruits with cherries and raspberries on the nose, lovely earthy notes with vanilla and oak here as well. Smooth and easy on the palate with fantastic depth of flavour and powerful full body. Excellent maturity (8 years old and just gorgeous) with those great earthy notes taking centre stage. Fruit really prominent at the beginning and nicely easing off throughout. Herbaceous notes towards the finish with great freshness and vibrancy. Long and luscious finish drinking so well now and certainly will continue to do well over the next 5-8 years. Stunning stuff.


These are some really great wines at the cheaper end of the Burgundy spectrum. I appreciate that not everyone believes Beaujolais is part of Burgundy mainly as they use a different grape variety. However, these are certainly really great value for money.

You will have noticed that Gamay is of course slightly different to Pinot Noir. There are a lot more savoury notes with game and herbaceous notes particularly pronounced. However, similar red fruit and certainly structure of body with these wines. In my humble opinion, definitely worth getting your teeth into some of these wines.

The scores:

Morgon Cote de Puy 2019 – 92 Points

Morgon P’tit Max 2019 – 93 Points

Rully Cuvee Marey 2019 – 93 Points

Rully 1er Cru Cloux 2018 – 94 Points

Givry 1er Cru 2018 – 94 Points

Mercurey Levitation 2016 – 95 Points

Again some really great wines and considering their price… I’d say it’s a no-brainer.

Thank you for reading as always, I will hopefully be back next week with another article!

Harry Vernau

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