The Lafarge family’s parcel of sixty-six year-old vines in Côte de Brouilly faces due south and sits next door to one of the vineyards owned by Château Thivin. This wine included one-third whole clusters in 2018 and has turned out beautifully, offering up a nascently complex and vibrant bouquet of red and black cherries, pomegranate, a tangy touch of cranberry, gamebird, woodsmoke and a superb base of stony soil tones. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and shows a nice touch of sappiness at the core, with fine focus and grip, seamless tannins and excellent mineral drive on the long and beautifully balanced finish. Fine, fine juice. (Drink between 2020-2050)
Blind this could easily pass for a fine pinot-based wine with its super-fresh nose of various red berries, spice and discreet pepper suggestions. I very much like the texture of the beautifully well-detailed and attractively textured medium weight flavors that coat the palate with dry extract that also helps to buffer the very firm tannic spine shaping the youthfully austere, muscular and complex finale. This is not nearly as refined as the Fleurie-based examples but it's going to age for years. In a word, impressive.
Aromas of cherries, raspberries, burning embers and raw cocoa introduce the 2018 Côte de Brouilly, a medium to full-bodied, fleshy but precise wine, with lovely depth at the core, refined tannins and a long, mineral finish. This is a serious, age-worthy cru Beaujolais, even if it's sufficiently charming to be approached young. The fourth vintage of Beaujolais newcomer Domaine Lafarge-Vial is a great success, and I found much to admire in all these new releases. Acquired in 2014 by Volnay's Frédéric Lafarge and his wife Chantal, née Vial, this four-hectare domaine is biodynamically farmed. The grapes are partially destemmed and fermented with punch-downs and pump-overs during the maceration, followed by pressing in a vertical press. Maturation is in well-used cooperage from the Domaine Lafarge in Volnay. The result is old-school cru Beaujolais, built to age. Any readers looking for Gamay that will converge with great Pinot Noir should look no further. (WK)
The 2018 Côte de Brouilly is resplendent with red cherries and crushed strawberry on the nose, the most Côte d’Or like of all Lafarge’s Beaujolais. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, fleshy and forward, with a beautifully balanced, almost Beaune-like finish. Lovely. (NM)
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