Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 24 June

Wine Club 24 June
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Calling all Beaujolais lovers! Yes, that’s you! I mean, we all love Beaujolais, right? Not the scuzzy, naff Bojolly Noovoo that was the grim but standard fare of 1970s wine bars, but the wonderful, fresh, ripe, juicy, new wave Beaujolais from one of the region’s ten crus, full of rich, succulent, damson-like fruit and silky tannins.

2015 was a stupendous year in Beaujolais and Domaine Henry Fessy is a remarkable producer, with vineyards in all ten crus, namely: Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié and Saint Amour.

DHF also produces a scrumptious Beaujolais-Villages and a rare and very fine Beaujolais Blanc from 100 per cent Chardonnay (the only white on the list). Very neatly and conveniently, this means that — thanks to our canny wine merchant partner, Mr.Wheeler — we are in a position to offer a case of all 12 of these wines (one bottle of each), and/or with two bottles each of six selected wines. I urge you to fill your boots and then some, for this is a belter of an offer and the wines are ideal summer fare.

As I say, 2015 was one heck of a vintage and Domaine Henry Fessy a great producer, with a first rate winemaker in Laurent Chevalier. When I last visited the winery I was completely seduced by the Fessy wines, all made from 100 per cent Gamay, of course, but with each cru ever so slightly different thanks to distinct soils and microclimates.

It’s terribly pretty, Beaujolais. Gently rolling hills— the first hint of the Massif Central — with vines and forests interspersed with tiny ancient villages. Sadly, it often gets overlooked as folk dash between Lyon and Beaune on the A6. The wines, too, sometimes get forgotten in favour of the Fancy Dan vintages of Burgundy and the Rhône.

There was a time when humble Beaujolais was the same price as mighty Burgundy. Today, though, a top cru Beaujolais is around half the price of a top Beaune, say, or a respectable Hermitage from the Rhône. It’s crazy that they’re so undervalued. Happily, the region is having a much talked about renaissance. Domaine Henry Fessy, too, has been reinvigorated thanks to its purchase by Maison Louis Latour in 2009 and the installation of Laurent Chevalier as wine-maker. It’s fair to say its wines are better than ever. This is certainly the best selection I can remember and tasting the wines reminded me just how much I love top-quality Beaujolais.

Space this week precludes my usual tasting notes (for greater detail about each wine go to but let’s just say each bottle in this offer is a delight, full of that instantly appealing, succulent Gamay fruit. You can’t help but be struck by the wines’ sheer drinkability.

‘We always speak of the plaisir of Beaujolais,’ Laurent Chevalier once told me and this offer has said plaisir in spades.

There are two mixed cases, both discounted and both giving a perfect snapshot of region and vintage. The first has one bottle of each wine and the second has two bottles each of the six wines I’ve picked as my favourites, marked with asterisks below. Delivery, as ever, is free.

Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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