- The Underground Wine Letter - http://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


wine glasses [1]

2010 Beaujolais


I did my first review of 2010 Beaujolais a short time ago. (To read that article click here [2]).

Below is my introduction from that first review:

The 2010 Beaujolais seem to compare with the 2009s in much the same way as the 2010 Red Burgundies compare with the 2009s. In both instances (to see my article on the 2010 Burgundy vintage click here [3]),  the 2010s are not as rich and full, but they are very pure and crisp with gorgeous fruit. The best 2009 Cru Beaujolais will undoubtedly repay aging, although they can also be consumed young. The 2010s, on the other hand, are probably best drunk relatively young even though the best of them undoubtedly will age beautifully as well… Give them a try. Make your comparisons between the 2010 and 2009 vintages. I think you will find many wines to your liking. And one of the really great thing about Cru Beaujolais is that you can drink them young, old, or in between. Unlike a lot of other red wines, they never seem to have a time when they close down.  Bon Degustation!


Here are notes on recent arrivals from 2 of my favorite producers from the Morgon “Gang of Four.”

wine 005 [4]

Marcel Lapierre


In the early ’70s Marcel took over the domaine from his father. In the early ’80s he and three other Beaujolais producers Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Jean Foillard set out to make Beaujolais in the traditional, natural way. They became affectionately know as the “Gang of Four.” There are 3 wines made here, this “Morgon” which is made from grapes grown on 6o year old vines. There is also a small amount of “Cuvee Marcel Lapierre” made from grapes grown on 100 year old vines and a small amount of “Raisin Gaunlois” which is made from grapes grown on young vines. Total production of the 3 cuvées is 8,000 cases. Sadly, Marcel passed away after the 2010 harvest. He had recently been joined by his son, Mathieu, who is now following in his father’s foot steps. This 2010 is a great legacy.

2010 Marcel Lapierre Morgon.
This is a lip smacking good Beaujolais! It is dark in color with a stunning perfume of berries and cherries accented by a floral nuance. It is very pure, bright and crisp with great elegance. The wine is brimming with berry and cherry fruit and a slight floral, citrus tinge. Absolutely delicious to drink now, but this Beaujolais should have a very long life ahead as well – Outstanding Plus.  $24   Best Buy  Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA3-n-half-yellow-stars [5]



Jean Foillard.


Jean and Agnés Foillard took over the domaine from his father in 1980 just in time to catch the wave of a return to traditional winemaking led by Marcel Lapierre. There are some 22 acres of vineyard planted on the Cote du Py, the famed slope just outside the town of Villié Morgon. There are 3 cuvées: “Cote du Py” is made from vines 10-90 years of age. “Cuvée Courcelette” is made from 80 year old vines. And, “3.14” is made from 100 year old vines. There is also a small amount of Fleurie made from vines 45-50 years old and a Beaujolais Nouveau made from grapes grown on 40-60 year old vines in the AOC Beaujolais area.


2010 Jean Foillard Morgon Cote de Py.
Wow! This is surely one of the very best 2010s. It is dark in color and has a stunning perfume of flowers, berries, and plums with a faint exotic undertone. Supple and lush the wine is packed with fruit and has layers of flavor. It has clarity and definition with finesse and a great underlying crispness. This is a very great Cru Beaujolais to drink now, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or a decade or two from now. It is just stunning – Extraordinary.   $37  Best Buy Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.  4-yellow-stars [6]


2010 Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvée Corcelette.
This is simply a delicious Beaujolais with great fruit, balance, structure, and depth. It is dark in color with a lovely perfume of blackberries and plums with a faint tinge of spice.The wine is harmonious and well crafted with a nice floral spice complexity and a nice underlying crispness – Outstanding Plus    $37   Best Buy   Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.  3-n-half-yellow-stars [5]



2009 Chinon

I previously did two articles on 2009 Chinons and Red Wines from the Loire Valley. (To view the first with notes on the wines of Catherine and Pierre Breton click here [7]).(To view the second with notes on the wines of Charles Joguet and Bernard Baudry  click here) [8]. Below is a note on another wine from Charles Joguet. It is a beauty!

charles joguet [9]

2009 Charles Joguet Chinon Les Charmes.
This wine is made from grapes grown on vines that are 35-40 years of age. Like the other 2009s from Charles Joguet, this wine is stunning. It has a dark color and a deep perfume plums and blackberries with faint hints of cedar and herbs with a faint floral undertone. It is very well structured and loaded with a myriad of fruits has depth and richness. This needs a bit of bottle age, but it will be gorgeous – Outstanding Plus.   $34  Best Buy  Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA3-n-half-yellow-stars [5]



Saint Joseph


Saint Joseph is an area in the Northern Rhone Valley. It has a history dating back to the 15th century. But, it was not officially recognized until 1956 when it received its own AOC (a specific area with strict guideline as to what can be grown and produced there). It was a small area (about 250) acres up until 1971 when it was increased to its present size of nearly 2500 acres. In 1994 the potential size was capped at some 7500 acres. Since 1979 the addition of as much as 10% white grapes (Marsanne and/or Roussanne) is allowed to be added to the Syrah to make red wine.  The best wines are generally from the southern part of the area and are produced from grapes grown on old vines.

I first became acquainted with the wines of Saint Joseph by drinking the wines of  Raymond Trollat in the early 1980s. During that period, we had a delightful visit there and I derived much enjoyment drinking the wines young and old. Raymond Trollat retired and sold most of his vines years ago, retaining a small parcel of old vines behind his house. The parcel slopes toward the river above St Jean de Muzols and consists of decomposed granite. Raymond Trollat continued to make a small amount of wine from this parcel until 2005. My adventure with Saint Joseph continued as I enjoyed some of the Saint Joseph Offerous wines from Chave. Now comes this wine from a producer that is new to me. What a surprise I had when I learned that the Gonons purchased the old vines parcel from Raymond Trollat! In some years, like 2007, they make a small amount of Vieilles Vignes separately. The rest is blended in their one St. Joseph bottling. I purchased all of these wines from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA. who imported the wines of Raymond Trollat and Chave and is now importing the wines of Pierre Gonon. This 2007 old vines is stunning! It is balanced and complex and just the kind of  wine I favor in a world full of over extracted Rhone wines.

wine 021 [10]

2007 Pierre Gonon Saint Joseph Vieilles Vignes.
Very dark in color this wine had a deep perfume of plums and cedar with a faint smokiness and a tinge of spice and herbs. It has great intensity, fruit and flavor with plums, spice, cedar, herbs, and smoke interwoven with a floral nuance. The wine is balanced and has character and depth with a long finish. This is Rhone wine in a traditional style that has great appeal – Outstanding Plus.   $82   Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA.  3-n-half-yellow-stars [5]




Two Red Wine Values – One from California & One from Chile


Both of these wines are made for Costco and are sold under the Kirkland Signature label. (To read an earlier article The Dueling Inexpensive Red Wine Line-Ups — Which Ones Went To The Drinking Round And Which Ones Went Down The Drain? [11] featuring wines from Costco click here [12]).  These are terrific wines and great values.

wine 043 [13]

2009 Kirkland Signature Zinfandel Old Vine Grandmère Amador County.
This wine is made from grapes grown on vines averaging 50 years of age and is produced and bottled by Renwood Winery, Plymouth, CA. It is a real mouthful. Checking in at 15% alcohol, it is very supple and rich and the alcohol is well integrated. The fruit is just bordering on the overripe side. But, overall it is a very nice wine with a dark color and a plum and blackberry perfume with a briary quality. It is lush and soft with great density and shows flavors of sweet very ripe plums and a faint cedary, briary undertone – Highly Recommended. $10.99 2-yellow-stars [14]


2010 Kirkland Signature Malbec Mendoza, Argentina.
This wine is produced and bottled by Bodega I.N.V. B-72325. It is a wine that can be consumed now, but should soften with a year or so bottle age. The color is very dark and the wine has a deep blackberry perfume with hints of cedar and chocolate. It has great fruit and is intense and flavorful with hints of cedar and spice and shows a firm underlying tannin. Very well crafted, this Malbec is easy on the wallet and is a good bet to lay away for a short period – Highly Recommended.   $7.99   Best Buy 2-yellow-stars [14]





I have written a lot about Sancerre. It is one of my favorite white wines and one of the most food friendly. (To read my most recent article click here [15]).  In the previous article there is an introduction Sancerre, notes on 2010s, and some food suggestions to go with Sancerre. I also mention some of my favorite producers. One is Edmond Vatan. It has been a while since I have had one of his wines as production and distribution to the U.S. is very small. But, I recently had this 2009 and it confirms my long standing belief that he is one of Sancerre’s top producers.


Edmond et Anne Vatan


The Clos de la Néore is a choice parcel of the famous Mont Damnes vineyard which is considered the best in Sancerre. Edmund Vatan went into semi-retirement in 2002, and the supply of his wines, already very small, has been further reduced. Total production is only about 500 cases a year with less than 25% of that imported to the U.S. Since the 2008 vintage, Edmond’s daughter, Anne Vatan-Foucault has taken over winemaking and administration of the domaine. The wines from here, like many of the best Sancerres, are capable of aging for many years – 10 to 20 years is not at all unusual.

wine 009 [16]

2009 Edmond et Anne Vatan Sancerre Chavignol Clos de La Néore.
Like many 2009 Sancerres, this one is rounded and lush. It is light yellow in color with a faint golden hue and has a lovely floral, tropical perfume with hints of citrus and mineral.Very pure, soft and elegant the wine has lots of melon and grapefruit tinged fruit and an underlying floral and mineral nuance followed by a long crisp finish – Outstanding Plus.    $64.99   Peter Weygant Selection, Weygant-Metzler, Unionville, PA.3-n-half-yellow-stars [5]