Beaujolais Michel Guignier 2011
This ain't your Grandma's Beaujolais! Sure there are still oceans of Beaujy plonk produced out there, but thankfully there is a growing number of small growers taking their Gamay seriously! This is from a fourth generation family Domaine and is about as good as it gets. Simple is well, too simple a term, but sometimes with wine (and great food!) simple is hard to do well, but great when accomplished. Pure might be a better term, and this is as pure and unadroned as Gamay gets. Medium ruby purple, juicy crushed black cherry, lively acidity and a good framework of tannin make this crunchy, quaffable red the perfect fall red. Turkey, chicken, veal, duck, pork, charcuterie, meaty fish - this is versatile and delicious.
The Morgon appellation is characterized by soils of decomposed granite and crumbly schist referred to regionally as “rotten rock”. Many of Guignier’s vines are up to 70 years old, and vines are all tended by hand with yields kept to a minimum. Guignier feels that when grapes arrive at the cellar at full physiological ripeness then you have everything you have to make a top wine. As such, grapes are picked entirely by hand and rigorous sorting is done both in the vineyard and in the cellar before the grapes go into cement vats for vinification.
Guignier follows a traditional vinification “à la Beaujolaise” with no de-stemming and with only indigenous yeasts used for the fermentation. The wines are macerated for 6-7 days for the Beaujolais and up to 14-15 days for his top Morgons. Guignier uses a vertical wooden press that slowly and gently presses the grapes. After pressing, most of his wines are returned to cement to finish their alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. His top cuvée, the Morgon “Bio-Vitis”, however, is raised in neutral burgundy barrels. The élévage is between 5 and 15 months depending on the terroir and the quality of the vintage. Vintages with more tender, forward fruit are bottled a bit earlier, while the more structured years receive a longer time in vat or wood before bottling. Guinier uses minimal doses of S02, though he prefers to add it after the malolactic rather that at bottling as he feels it integrates better into the wine. He also makes several cuvées for the French market that are made entirely without sulphur at all.
Guignier’s wines display that transparent, ethereal, soil-driven quality that makes naturally-made, top Beaujolais so unique and joyful to drink. Among them are a fresh and charming Beaujolais AOC made from 50 year old vines, a rich and well structured Morgon Vieilles Vignes from 60-70 year old vines, and the complex and seductive Morgon Bio-Vitis made exclusively from fruit from La Roche Pilée, a south facing vineyard of pure, decomposed rock located at the base of the Cote de Py.
Michel Guignier is clearly a rising star who will soon join the ranks of the many luminaries in the village of Morgon.
Wine type: Red
Varietals: GamayVineyard: The Beaujolais appellation spreads over 30 km between Sane Valley and Haute-Azergues and Haut-Beaujolais hills from North to South.
Orientation: South facing with a slight slope.
Soil: Decomposed granite and crumbly schist referred to regionally as "rotten rock".
Viticulture: The vines are 40 years old; they are pruned quite extensively to limit the yield; all the bunches are picked by hand and then very carefully sorted to retain only the fully ripe, whole bunches.
Vinification: Semi carbonic maceration for up to 7 days. Traditional Vinification temperature: 22 C at the beginning of fermentation and 32 C at the end. On pressing, cooling to 22 C to retain as much aroma and flavor as possible.Aging: In vats on the lees. All terroirs vinified and aged separately.Production: 580 casesNotes: The Beaujolais appellation spreads over 30 km between Sane Valley and Haute-Azergues and Haut-Beaujolais hills from North to South. Guignier's Beaujolais is light and lacy with aromas and flavors of red fruit.
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