March 13, 2017

Château de Bellevue, Morgon

2014 Morgon 'Les Charmes'
Retail:  $26.95 / btl
  (12 btl/cs)

2011 Moulin à Vent 'La Roche'
Retail:  $39.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs)


Bojo Renaissance

In the early 1980s when I was the beverage manager at Toronto's original Mövenpick Restaurant, we brought in 1,000 cases of Beaujolais Nouveau every year on the 3rd Thursday of November, cases stacked between the tables. The wine was gone by Valentine's Day.

Of course, I had no idea that I was contributing to the destruction of an entire historic wine region. At the height of the Nouveau craze, rumour was that there was more Beaujolais Nouveau bottled than the entire legitimate production of the region. Like so many wine stories, cheap wine & fast money ultimately destroyed the reputation of the region and the livlihood of the growers and winemakers. By the turn of the millenium, Beaujolais Nouveau had become a punchline, and even the serious wines of the region were in decline.

What a difference a generation makes...

Noble Rot, the hippest wine publication on the planet, recently published a feature on Beaujolais, Lyon, Gamay, and the region's unsinkable Joie de Vivre. Dan Keeling asks, "What does a wine region need to be taken seriously? Discernible vintage and terroir variations? World-class winemaking? Demand far outstripping supply?"  And at the other end of the wine-mag spectrum, mainstream Wine Spectator's Matt Kramer highlighted Cru Beaujolais in his year-end Wines of the Year column.

Bojo is back baby! And the wines from the best producers will blow your mind. This kind of quality and character, at these prices, is something to celebrate.


The Wines

Château de Bellevue 2014 Morgon 'Les Charmes'

These 40 year-old vines are planted on East/South-eastern facing slopes in the Les Charmes 'climat'. Soil is light sand over clay. The grapes are vinified at the chateau according to traditional Burgundy methods. A long, 25-day fermentation period with manual cap punching allows for a long, slow extraction of silky tannins, typical of this climat.
The wine is then partially aged in oak foudres and barrels for 9 to 10 months.

91 points - Josh Raynolds,
"Ruby-red. Highly aromatic red berry and floral aromas show very good clarity and pick up a suggestion of blood orange with air. Smooth and seamless in texture, offering juicy raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors given spine by tangy acidity. Densely packed but energetic as well, finishing with appealing sweetness and spiky tannins that sneak in late to add focus and grip. Drink 2017-2021"


Château de Bellevue 2011 Moulin à Vent 'La Roche' Vieilles Vignes

This comes from a 0.4 ha (1 acre) block of old vine Gamay in the 'climat' La Roche, planted in sandy soils over pink granite & clay on the plateau overlooking the village of Romanèche-Thorins. The fruit is handled in a traditional Burgundian manner - hand-harvested, de-stemmed (70%), long fermentation with submerged cap, and aged on it's lees in 1-2 year-old barriques for 15 months. The result is a remarkable, ageworthy Gamay - designated by the term 'Réserve Caveau'.
The ripe Strawberry fruit is complemented by aromas of wood, spice, licorice & cinnamon. On the finish, you'll find hints of burnt vanilla & cocoa. Structured and concentrated, it has a long finish with finese and elegance.


About Château de Bellevue

On a hill overlooking the village of Villié-Morgon, the majestic chateau was built in the 19th century, and a cellar added behind the château in the 1830s. The 20th century saw several notable residents, including a son of the Lumière brothers who invented the cinema; and Russian Princess Leiven, whose maiden name was Chateaubriand. In 2009, Beaujolais winegrower/merchant Maison Jean Loron purchased the estate. With a history in the region dating to 1711, the company is now managed by Xavier Barbet, 8th generation of the Loron/Charlet family.

Château de Bellevue’s 14.5 ha of vineyards are located on exceptional hillside sites in the Cru of Morgon, comprised of several ‘climats’ including Le Clos and Les Charmes.  Bellevue also has vineyards in the Cru of Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie and Brouilly. Hand-harvesting grapes from a multitude of parcels, gives winemaker Claire Forestier an array of raw material to craft distinctive, high quality wines. Her cellar is tailored to specific parcel selections, and includes stainless steel, concrete and various sizes of wood tanks for fermentation and aging.