Domaine Des Combiers, Beaujolais-Village Prestige 2017
Another boutique family owned estate, Domaine Des Combiers make this old vine (average vine age 80 years with a centenary plot) Beaujolais, and what a treat it is. Hand-picked and entirely vinified onsite. The black Gamay grapes undergo whole bunch ferment and the characteristic carbonic maceration (10-12 days) to ‘extract the spicy tannins of the terroir’. Black cherry, liquorice, black pepper, blood plum, raspberry, pomegranate. This is dark and black and lithe and spiced. Aromatic af. The palate has that edginess and structure that is one of the exciting hallmarks of Beaujolais, it is stemmy and sappy and interesting. Light and airy and fine-boned, but also has good concentration – it has a bright chinon character which I find intriguing. Structure.. The acidity is quenching, and the wine has a piquant quality to it. It’s exciting. More serious and age-worthy than perhaps I expected, but shame on me for that – I should know that Beaujolais is not just a drink ‘immediately’ wine. The family cultivate the vineyards under the ‘lutte raisonnee’ practice (literally meaning, the ‘reasoned struggle’), that is – as few chemicals as reasonably possible in order to rebuild the natural microbiology of the soil, and to preserve and support the health of the vineyard workers (‘who account for the largest percentage of cancer cases amongst farmers’ [Source: Kermit Lynch]). The planting of varied cover crops, regular ploughing and the employment of animal manure as natural compost are all part of the ‘lutte raisonnee’ program.