I was blown away when I tasted these wines from new natural wine negociant Jean Max (declaration of interest: they are listed by The Sourcing Table, and I work as contributing editor for them). Maxime Barrot hails from Beaujolais, but learned how to make natural wine in Chile (he worked with , who was influenced by Antoine Luyt, who was influenced by Marcel Lapierre, before returning to his region. He did some work for Bret Brothers (stars of the Mâconnais) and natural wine superstar Yvon Métras, and then started making his own wines. These are made in the cellar of Eric Texier in the Rhône, hence they are labelled as Vin de France. [These were coravined samples, and I’ve since tasted the Le Rouge à Lièvre from bottle, with consistent notes.] It’s just so exciting to taste wines like these, and I have bought some.
Jean Max La Lièvre Blanc 2019 Vin de France
Six year old parcel of Chardonnay in Beaujolais. 12% alcohol. Natural with 48 ppm SO2 total. A bit cloudy. Appley, vivid and intense with keen acidity. Saline and intense with good concentration. So vital and expressive. A really lovely wine with a limey, lemony zip, finishing long. 94/100
Jean Max Ext’ Hase 2019 Vin de France
27 ppm SO2 total. 70 year old vines. 13% alcohol. This is rounded sweetly fruited with really nice red cherries and plums. This is so textural with a lovely sweet fruit core and good acidity. Such a lovely wine with real elegance and purity. 95/100
Jean Max Le Rouge à Lièvre 2019 Vin de France
13% alcohol. 55 year old vines, less than 15 ppm SO2. 13% alcohol. Inky and intense with great concentration and lovely pure red cherry and berry fruits. There’s a brightness here and some lovely precision. This is Gamay that offers pleasure, but also significant structure and focus. Brilliant. 95/100
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