Inky, Old-Vine Beaujolais: “for Drinking, not Contemplating”

We work with many winemakers with low profiles, but Jean-Marc Monnet might be the least visible. He has no roadside, no website, and no other American importer. We’ve gotten lost trying to find his domaine two years in a row. Jean-Marc himself is as humble as his winery is hidden, but the wines themselves are a wholly different story.

Beaujolais has long been known for its unserious wines — over-marketed and under-cared-for. But Monnet’s Beaujolais has the complexity of a very good Côte d’Or Bourgogne and the density of a Northern Rhône syrah. 2018 was a warm year in the Beaujolais, and this old-vine Gamay is as intense and chewy as anything we’ve seen from the grape.

If you still think of Beaujolais as light and fruity, give this a try.

Monnet’s reds are intense and perfectly extracted — the fruit is almost teeth-stainingly dense, but with no hint of bitterness. They look and feel like syrah in the mouth, but the fruit is red and juicy. It’s punchy, intense, and powerful: smooth and bold and delicious..

Monnet’s Juliénas Vieilles Vignes is like his other wines, but more so. From 50+ year old vines and a ripe vintage, the density is exceptional. The color is inky purple, with a dark nose showing raspberry and pure wild cherry. The mouthfeel is intense and smooth with a long, dense finish of cranberry, minerals and violets. This is delicious, and as Jancis Robinson puts it, “meant to be drunk, not contemplated.”


Monnet Juliénas VV 2018
bottle price: $19

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