This was the first I had heard of Terroirs Originels, even though I see they were formed in 1997. I suspect, perhaps, if I had more of a Burgundy or Beaujolais focus I would have heard of them before now? They are a group of artisan-vignerons (their choice of words, not mine) from the Beaujolais and Mâcon appellations; the mutual draw was not just the need to market themselves and their wines, although that has to be part of it, but a shared respect for their terroirs, and the expression of that terroir through sensitive winemaking. Or, as they put it, the “savoir faire” of the artisan-vigneron.
I wasn’t convinced by these words; they, and the incredibly slick website linked above, felt more like the work of a PR agency than a group of artisans. But that’s just me, Mr Cynical. Putting my doubts to one side I tasted the wine, and found all three to be beyond my expectations. These are wines with dark, fresh and convincing fruit, with none of the confected, yeast-derived aromas that marks cheaper, more comercial Beaujolais. Alongside the wine from Laurent Gauthier, these two were also pretty good:
Gérard Charvet Moulin-à-Vent La Réserve d’Amelie 2010: Gérard Charvet has 14 hectares of vines acros five lieux-dits. Planting density is high, at 12000 vines per hectare. Fermentation is in temperature-controlled stainless steel, with a nine-month élevage in old barrels and vats. The cuvée is named for his daughter. Bottled under natural cork. A vibrant colour with moderate intensity. Soft plum fruit here, ill-defined at first but firming up and delineating nicely with a little time in the glass, revealing little complexities of tobacco leaf and smoky charcoal. A moderate weight at the start, holding up nicely through the middle, reserved, fresh, a gentle texture within a good frame of acidity. There is a really attractive and supple texture to it, but there is vigour and cut underneath as well. Lively, lightly mineral, certainly showing more upright structure than the soft fruit on the nose suggested, and this shows well in the finish. Defined, firm and grippy. Alcohol 13%. 15.5/20 (July 2012)
Robert Perroud Brouilly L’Enfer des Balloquets 2010: A domaine that has been in the Perroud family since 1789. The vines are situated around the Perroud residence at the foot of Mont Brouilly, on south-facing slopes with an incline of up to 40%. The fruit is harvested into 50kg trays, and then fermented using carbonic maceration, with an élevage in wood. Bottled under agglomerate cork. A vibrant hue here, slightly less intense colour, but brighter style. The nose is certainly vibrant, with fresh and stony fruit definition, framing notes of cherry and loganberry, the fruit very confident in character. The structure in the mouth has a remarkable appeal, very bright and lively, with fresh and supple and slightly juicy fruit character wrapped around a sensitive central frame. The finish is appropriately stone-bound, fresh and grippy, but with a really impressive broad fruit texture. A very attractive wine. Alcohol 12.5% 16/20 (July 2012)