Beaujolais New View?

In September 2005 I had the great pleasure (?) of driving from Leeds to the Beaujolais region.   Having stayed with family in Essex, passed through the Dover to Calais ferry and spent a night in Epernay (never mind Reims, this is the centre of the champagne universe for me) we arrived in Belleville about 40 hours after we set off.

The reason for the trip?  A 40th birthday present was a “rental” of a number of rows of vines at a Morgon vineyard related to 3D Wines, owned by the absolutely charming Bernard Collonge and his even more charming wife, (who could speak about as much English, as I could French) Christine.

I was lucky enough to visit just after the vendange and I remember Christine telling me that 2005 would turn out to be a good year (and it has).

Morgon - Domaine de Colonat 2003 

However, the year I had an option over was 2003, another terrific year.  We stayed one night in Fleurie and the 2003 was still being lauded, albeit running out.  The French, as I am sure you know, prefer to drink wine much younger than the English.  By the way, the other nights were spent in Belleville at l’Hotel l’Ange Couronne which I highly recommend, unlike l’Auberge des Sablons in Taponas which our ropey French travel agent had booked us into, but on arrival turned out to be dreadful so we moved.

I have saved my 2003 Morgon and still have a couple of cases left.  Whilst it has matured in the last 4 years, it is still very much a Beaujolais with the slightly insipid Gamay taste.  There is no doubt that Morgon lasts better than most Beaujolais crus but I think its drinking time is probably coming nigh and if you have any of this wine I would recommend drinking by end 2008.  Madame Collonge told me that the wine should be put in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to drinking.  I would recommend an hour for most Morgons and perhaps 1.5 to 2 hours for the lighter Beaujolais like Fleurie.  However, once opened leave at room temp and allow to breathe.

Domaine de Colonat, Morgon Les Charmes, Cuveee Roche-Briday is a great wine.  Plums, wood spice and earthy minerals in the background.  In the foreground, as with so many gamays, is the slightly sickly rose-hip flavour that tastes so good when outside le cafe de la Bascule  in  Fleurie on a sunny French autumn day, but leaves one a little overawed on a winter day in Leeds.

Horses for courses eh?  I still love the stuff.

I also have a few wines from the same trip from la famille Collonges, and from Fleurie that are still going well.  I don’t expect you to find any 2003’s now so go for the 2005 and enjoy (but don’t overpay!)

It is difficult to assess the full price of the 3D wines due to the cost of the trip to collect them.  I think that if I had had them shipped to England, it may have been about £10 per bottle based on the 4 cases I collected.  This is a pretty good price for such a good wine and when you account for the additional wines purchased in Beaulolais, Epernay and Calais (the car scraped its way home) I would definitely consider doing it all again, especially considering the pleasure of the trip.

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