Last week we wrote about the first of our two new finds in the Beaujolais: Dupré-Goujon. Today we’re suggesting the other discovery: Frederic Berne. Both are part of the new wave of young winemakers making their name in the region. Natural wine has a long history in the Beaujolais, indeed many cite the region as the modern movement’s birthplace in the 1970s. Both of our new vignerons practice biodynamic farming and low-intervention winemaking, limiting use of oak and sulfites.
Dupré-Goujon’s cuvées are lightweight and vibrant, with gorgeous aromatics and delicate structure. Berne’s are a bit more lush, a bit bolder and fuller, but no less complex. In spite of the origin in the Beaujolais – a region known for its unserious, carefree, quaffable reds – Berne’s cuvées are serious, delicious wines, that just happen to be made of Gamay.
The simpler of the two is a Beaujolais Villages from Lantignié, a terroir that Berne hopes will soon become the 11th Beaujolais cru. There’s real complexity here, with perfectly extracted fruit and lovely notes of graphite and dried rose petals. The mouth shows dry cranberry and stones, with a straightforward, unoaked, delicious finish. At $22 this is a bargain Beaujolais that drinks like a Cru. Jasper Morris MW agreed, awarding 5/5 stars, and noting “a really precise nose with some minerals…Digs deep, shows more minerals and some really pretty fruit.”
Berne Lantignié 2020
bottle price: $22
Even more impressive is Berne’s 2020 Régnié (ray-neyay), from one of the ten Beaujolais Crus and the town best known for elegance and subtlety. Berne’s plot is on granite and clay, and he ages the 100% whole cluster wine for 12 months in 500L barrels. The nose is deep and dark with notes of violets and roses, and a pleasant earthiness to accompany the floral perfume. In the mouth the granite returns, cutting beautifully through the lush fruit. Bill Nanson called it “really super…excellent again!” We drink Beaujolais year round, but Thanksgiving is what it’s made for.
Berne Regnié 2020
bottle price: $25