Sandwiched in between Burgundy in the North and Rhone Valley in the South of France, Beaujolais is an area that's pretty much centred on Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc (or Gamay in short). Depending on the soil and topography that the vines are planted on, and to a great extend, the winemaker's artistic direction, the wines produced from these ancient cultivar can range from being very light, delicate and glouglou to full on dense, structured and ageworthy.
Of course there will always be those thin, insipid, highly acidic and overly bubble-gummy Beaujolais (especially Beaujolais Nouveau) produced but proper, well-crafted Beaujolais that manage to balance the fragile equilibrium between acid, fruit and tannins can often be a damn delicious drink! The latter tends to come from the more "elite" granitic hills which house the ten most important Beaujolais Crus, i.e. St-Amour, Juliénas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié , Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly.
Morgon is quite a granite-centric site and its vineyards are typically made up of broken, decomposing soil (mainly schist, granite and volcanic compound), earning it an "endearing" term roche pourrie or rotten rock, which contributes towards a fuller bodied, slightly more tannic, more masculine, denser, broader and more robust profile that ultimately became its own unique identity marker in an ocean of Beaujolais reds. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the biggest Cru sites so the truly fine examples usually need a few years (if not a decade or so) in the bottle to blossom fully.
We tasted a pair of very well made Morgon yesterday and both showed extremely well (Fruit Day helped we reckon? Hahaha). Do note that both wines were made as natural as possible with minimal to no sulphur addition, minimal intervention and sealed with red wax.
The 2012 version by Maison B. Perraud (made by Isabelle and Bruno Perraud of Domaine des Côtes de la Molière) had a slightly cloudy ruby core (it was unfiltered and unfined by the way) with a vermillion rim. Plenty of dried red fruits, mandarin peel, notes of spring cherries and slight funk on the nose. On the palate the wine was brimming with red currants, bing cherries, tart, a little earthy and perhaps a touch minty with ripe but mouth-puckering tannins. At almost 8 years of age post bottling, the wine is still fairly tannic but approachable now with some wild boar salami, marinated beef tongue, veal Milanese (Cotoletta alla Milanese) or any good charcuterie you can find.
M. Lapierre's youngish 2018, on the other hand, was a strong, deeply coloured cherry red tinged with purplish tones. Notes of violets, macerated dark cherries, black plums were immediately distinguishable once popped and poured. Lush, round, broad, silky and bursting with dark, ripe fruits on the palate with a sprinkle of spice. Cantonese style braised beef brisket with daikon (柱侯萝卜焖牛腩), braised pork buns/ kong bak bao (扣肉包) or BBQ lamb ribs should be excellent with it.
Did we have a favourite you may ask? We didn't. What we may be eating with them mattered actually. We did notice that one of the Morgons wasn't as chemically stable after a few hours of air contact (read: the wine collapsed) but like all good things in life, you need to catch it before it passes you by.
“Bois du Morgon, tu seras canon”, which literally means "Drink Morgon, and you will be a hottie". Now what are you waiting for? Be a hottie!