Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dominique Piron , AOC Morgon, Cote du Py, cru Beaujolais

Wouldn't it be great if someone came along and made your life easier?

   It wouldn't have to be in an extreme way, at least not for me, just any old thing that made my day easier then the one before would be much appreciated. Well then, what if someone helped you organize your life, how would that make you feel?

   "God-bless-you" I would say, and mean it.

   Someone has done that for all of us, and that someone is the INAO or Institut National des Appellations d'Origine. What did they do for us? They organized all of the wines of France. Yeah... and just for you (and me).

   France is an amazing country, with more diverse regions then almost anywhere else on earth; several hundred. And of those several hundred exactly delineated areas, Burgundy (Bourgogne) has more then anywhere else in France. In fact, they have so many that although the wines of southern Burgundy and northern Beaujolais can be incredibly similar, they are noted as being from different regions.

   Ahhh Beaujolais; the one-time stomping ground (pardon the atrocious pun) of Beaujolais-Nouveau; candied juice of the grape. Well, much as I said in my previous article on AOC Morgon (http://astudentofwine.blogspot.ca/2012/01/jean-foillard-beaujolais-morgon-cote-du.html ), if that's what you think of Gamay Noir/Beaujolais then you have alot to learn.

   Cru Beaujolais is divided into 10 AOC's, which range in quality from cheap, cheerful and best consumed whilst young to rich, nuanced, and capable of Burgundian levels of quality as they mature. In fact, in Beaujolais there is a local word to describe what happens to these wines "Il Morgone" = "It Morgin-isizes". These winemakers are saying that when Gamay Noir approaches it's fifth, or seventh, or 12th year with dignity, grace, finesse and puissance, then it can say that it has Morgoned. (In local dialect it is sometimes called Pinoter ,or, to develop Pinot Noir like qualities)

   Wow, that's a huge compliment but also alot to live up to.

Dominique and his delivery van
   14th generation winemaker Dominique Piron (http://www.domaines-piron.fr/) is more then capable. He and his wife Kristine have more the 60 hectares of cultivated vineyard in Beaujolais; running the gambit of levels of finesse. One of their most prized parcels is in the afore-mentioned AOC Morgon. Morgon lies in the north of Beaujolais, and has a large hill in it know as the Mont de Py, which winemakers yearn to plant with vines on the southern and south-eastern exposures know as the Cote de Py. It is here that Dominique coaxes exacting quality at approachable prices.

   And so, around the commune of Villie-Morgon (twin hamlets that joined together long ago), over 250 producers work much like Dominique does. It is not a new story, in this part of southern France... working with ancient schistous-granitic soil which is so weathered and tamed by millenia that it is called "rotten rock" for its appearance. They are firm believers in organic and bio-dynamic principles, and have been doing so in some cases (like Dominique) for centuries. Perhaps they aren't certified, but many growers in the region don't see the need to spend money on certifications for practices that have been passed down for generations.

   Regardless, the proof is in the glass, n'est-pas? And Morgon has built a reputation for being one of (if not the) the foremost examples of greatness in Gamay Noir and the Beaujolais. Care to dispute it? You'll have to try them first~! And if you were curious, it's not just Gamay Noir in Morgon (accounts for 85% of all blendings), they also grow Chardonnay, Aligote and Melon (for the remaining 15% of all blendings).

2009 Morgon Cote du Py
by Dominique Piron
$30         92 points

*** Best of Show: Vancouver Magazine top 100 value wines, 2012 ***
  • visual:   clear; fully intense plum-garnet core with slightest cherry rim
  • nose:    clean; fully intense and youthful bouquet of red cherries, red currants, bright strawberries, an explosion of red floral notes, candy background with an undercurrent of savory earth
  • palate:    clean; dry, moderate+ to fully intense (red currant) acids, moderate+ (slightly grippy) tannins, moderate body, moderate ABV (13.5%), moderate+ intense and youthful flavors mimicking well the nose; sultry earth and floral notes are first, followed by red berries and then the lingering earthy notes return. Stunning balance, excellent structure and long length
  • conclusion:   A stunning wine, this is still in it's infancy. Drinks best 2015-2018 and keeps to 2020 I would imagine but will not improve after 2017/18
  • FOOD PAIRINGS: as young as this wine is, best not to complicate matters; venison carpaccio on toasted rye with caramelized onion compote. Let the venison play off the fresh red berry notes and the rye will warm to the earthiness whilst the sweet onion will bring the slightly acidic berries in the wine back in-line

   The proof is in the glass I say. Why then, since AOC Beaujolais was recognized in 1936, do people pay hundreds of dollars a bottle for wine from one side of the border and balk at $50 for a great Morgon? Why? Well perhaps we can lay it down to marketing and brand-awareness; many of you know that I am a fierce proponent of using the brand-awareness against itself...

    And this is a perfect example: buy a stunning Gamay Noir for $30 or less, hold onto it until it's 6 or 7  years old and you will have a wine the equal of a $200 Burgundian Pinot Noir. No, no, no, I'm not saying that it will be the same, but I am most certainly saying that it will have the same quality.

    And what are you really paying for when you buy a bottle of wine? Are you the person who buys a name, or buys quality?

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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