Travel Blog: Day Six

DAY SIX  |  Juliénas, Verzé, Givry, Beaune

Up early again today for our trip south — it’s about an hour drive to the Beaujolais, and the region greeted us with sunny skies, a pleasant breeze and an impressive morning of discovery.

Our first tasting was with a tiny-scale winemaker in Juliénas. We had little to go on besides a few notes in a journal we follow, but his wines would have exceeded even the highest expectations. These were crisp, crackling, juicy, unoaked, pure gamays — bursting with the joie-de-vivre spirit of the Beaujolais. With affordable pricing and an exceptional vintage, these will appear in our warehouse and on our email list sooner rather than later.

With such a morning, our second tasting was set up to disappoint; which makes how good the late-morning’s wines were even more impressive. These are a different style of Beaujolais — careful use of oak, 100+ year old gamay vines, with complexity and depth to match many a Côte d’Or red. Our host finished the tasting with a 2005 Juliénas from old vines that near perfection.

We grabbed a quick lunch in town — foie gras salads and a bottle of Badoit — then headed north to the Maconnais. Our source here is one of our most exciting new producers — one we discovered several years ago, and who already has many fans among our readers. His wines continue to be excellent, and we’ll be adding an elegant new Pouilly-Fuissé from him in the months to come.

Between tastings three and four we took the back roads and passed through our old neighborhood around the village of Cluny. We spent a year living here in 1998, and the pastoral green hillsides and gently winding roads brought back many a memory and smile. Tasting four took us up to Givry, where we sampled 2015s from the barrel — nearly a year away from bottling and they’re already pleasant. Quelle millesime.

Dinner in town at a new bistro — boeuf carpaccio, and cuisse d’agneau — with les Bleus on in the background. Tomorrow Chablis.