Question: Which Beaujolais age well and what are the best vintages to buy?
Answer: Cru Beaujolais are having a revival helped by climate change plus new investment by Burgundian producers. The 10 crus have some interesting diverse mixed soils ranging from granite, red sandstone to blue clay & volcanic rock. It is generally believed Moulin-a-Vent ages the longest (remember drinking a memorable 1947 with Mommessin) but closely followed by Morgon and Julienas. For a while the fruity early drinking styles of Fleurie & Brouilly and others were en vogue but it is turning back to giving all these undervalued wines some bottle age. My recommendation on best vintages for cellaring are 2018 & 2015 (range 5-25 years) followed by 2016 & 2014 (go say 3-15 years). 2017, 2013, and 2012 are also delicious drinking more forwardly but would easily still hold for 10 years.You might also like:
My experience is that neither the 2009 or 2010 vintages of Cru Beaujolais are ready to drink at this point across the board.
Thanks John for your most insightful comment on a couple of older vintages. Yes all these Cru Beaujolais will surprise you. They deliver excellent value for the quality delivered and are a real value these days. The wonderful Gamay fruit is enjoyable early on but aging them brings out a whole new dimension of development and complexity. Check them out!
Along the lines of your comments regarding the climate change impacting Beaujolais in a positive way… In my opinion 2003 was a breakout year for Cru Beaujolais for some wine drinkers, including myself. In spite of the warm year, young Cru Beaujolais were delicious. I remember Bob Charpie calling me one day, to come over to his cellar to taste some 2003 Georges Dubœuf Juliénas that he had purchased. It was “eye opening” for me and what I called at the time, “highly drinkable”, Certainly Dubœuf’s Beaujolais wines are what I would kindly call “commercial”, but this wine was one the best $11 bottle of wines I had consumed in my recent memory. He and I ended up splitting 10 cases of this wine. I really enjoyed serving it blindly to many people, as did Bob. A lot of those people in turn, went out and bought cases themselves. Needless to say, the market for that wine dried up in the Boston area quickly.
A few year’s later, I was fortunate enough to buy a 2 cases of Jadot’s, 2003 Moulin-à-Vent Clos de Rochegrès Château des Jacques, that was being offered at “close out” pricing from the local distributor. This wine was one of the best Beaujolais, I have ever tasted. It was structured, rich, and surprisingly well balanced, with none of the “heat” you would expect from the 2003 vintage. I served this blind to some guests and it was mistaken for a 1er Cru Burgundy. I still have a few bottles left and it is still drinking well, although a bit past it’s prime. I don’t drink as much Beaujolais as I used to, but I tend to prefer one’s from Morgon, especially Marcel Lapierre and Jean-Paul Thevenet
I have been wowed by a half-dozen bottles Foillard’s 2015 Beaujolais Nouveau over the last year ($5.00 on closeout). A stunningly good.
His 2009 3.14 is spectacular and still a baby. Did I just confess to infanticide?