From: Beaujolais, France
Critical Acclaim: JS 92 James Suckling
At the lower edge of medium-bodied, this has good concentration with licorice and floral notes alongside the sour cherry fruit. Beautiful balance at the elegant wet stone finish that’s impressively long for the 2021 vintage. Drink or hold.
Juicy up front, with notes of muddled blackberry and dried cherries, before firming up a little on the finish, expressing savory notes of dried herbs, blood and rock. A wine of immediate pleasure, but one which will age nicely for at least 2-3 more years.
Wine Advocate: "From vines growing in thin volcanic soils above Juliénas, the 2021 Beaujolais-Villages La Roche exhibits aromas of red berries, pomegranate and spices, followed by a medium-bodied, bright and juicy palate that's fleshy and giving. It will be at its best young."
Taste: Initially, you’ll find aromas of bing cherries, raspberries, mulberries, blackberries and rose petals. There are whispers of pomegranate and spice, followed by an underlying earthy character that is reminiscent of the granite-based soils and volcanic blue stone bedrock of its Beaujolais birthplace. On the palate, a pleasant concentration of sour cherry, coupled with licorice, floral undertones, and savory elements like dried herbs and a delicious wet-stone minerality . Medium-bodied and supple, the palate is imbued with a well-structured acidity that adds freshness and longevity to the wine.
Pairing: This Julienas pairs excellently with a broad range of dishes. From roasted chicken, guineafowl, duck, or partridge, to seared duck breast with fruit accompaniments like cherries or figs, and classic French dishes in creamy sauce like chicken with tarragon, kidneys with mustard sauce or even a retro boeuf stroganoff. Other dishes that work wonderfully alongside this delicious wine include oeufs en meurette, Toulouse or other garlicky sausages and lentils, confit duck, and steak tartare (check out the recipe below).
For a vegetarian option, try dishes featuring butternut squash or sweet potato. And surprisingly, this Beaujolais is also a good pairing for a Chinese meal if you want to maintain a red wine theme.
By Gabrielle Hamilton
About. Viticulture has woven its roots into human civilization for centuries, and some vineyards, like the Domaine du Clos du Fief, tell a remarkable story through their wines. Forged by a father-son duo, Michel and Sylvain Tête, the Domaine du Clos du Fief is a rare fourth-generation Cru estate based in the far Northwest sector of Beaujolais. This story of wine excellence draws from the ancient and the new, steeped in a 2,000-year-old tradition yet innovatively refined with modern viticulture techniques.
A History Dating Back to Julius Caesar
The enchanting villages of Juliénas and Jullié, named after Julius Caesar himself, have a wine culture dating back to the Gallo-Roman period. These high-altitude hillsides, rich with granite and boasting an amphitheater-like setting, have provided a nurturing cradle for vines for over two millennia. Michel Tête, after studying in Beaune, took the stewardship of this historic land, bringing in techniques that he uses to this day to great acclaim. The fruits of Michel and Sylvain's labor are wines that are true odes to the classics: products of low yields, meticulously farmed vineyards, and traditional winemaking, which all come together to craft mouthwatering and serious expressions of terroir-driven reds.
The 2021 Domaine du Clos du Fief, Michel et Sylvain Tete Julienas Tradition
The 2021 Domaine du Clos du Fief Julienas Tradition is an embodiment of this lineage and dedication. It is 100% Gamay, grown from 60+ year-old vines at an altitude of 350 meters, with a high density planting of 10,000 vines per hectare. The vineyards are situated on granite-based sites with ancient alluvial deposits, sandy soils, and a fair amount of clay, all seated atop the region's famous volcanic blue stone bedrock.
The wine undergoes semi-carbonic vinification in cement, aided by indigenous yeast, and then ages in cement. This traditional Beaujolais process, refined through generations, produces an elegant wine that has captured the attention of critics and enthusiasts alike.
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