A natural Beaujolais fest at Soif

Les Caves de Pyrene are a UK wine importer who have shown a big commitment to Beaujolais over the years. They specialize in natural and authentic wine, and Beaujolais is a natural hotspot. They also have involvement in restaurants and wine bars in London. Sadly, their flagship restaurant Terroirs didn’t survive the pandemic, but they have an excellent restaurant in Clapham Junction called Soif, which is very much in the spirit of Terroirs. Here they held a tasting and dinner focusing on their Beaujolais portfolio. It was great to taste these wines and catch some of the dynamism that surrounds Les Caves and the people who work for them, and their customer base.

Château Cambon 2020 Beaujolais, France
This is a collaboration between Marie Lapierre (wife of Marcel) and Jean-Claude Chanodet. It comes from sandy granitic soils and 80 year old vines, and spends 9 months in foudre. Lovely red fruits: fine, pure, bright and structured, showing real finesse and precision. A bargain to boot. 93/100

Château Cambon La Cuvée du Chat 2020 Vin de France
This comes from the original vineyard of famed natural wine pioneer Jules Chauvet. It’s supple, bright and rounded with red cherries and plums. Shows lovely texture and has some fine grained structure as well as generosity. Silky and fine. 93/100

Chamonard Morgon 2017 Beaujolais, France
Joseph Chamonard was one of the natural wine pioneers in the Beaujolais. He’s now deceased, and these wines are made by Jean-Claude Chanudet, who was his son-in-law. These Chamonard wines are made with destemmed fruit in a Pinot Noir sort of way, and it shows in their character. This is a pale red in colour, and is supple, elegant and sweetly fruited with lovely elegance. Fine green hints and a bright, tart finish. Quite ethereal. 94/100

Chamonard Morgon 2018 Beaujolais, France
Fine, fresh, quite structured and elegant. There’s nice finesse here but also some richness. Very stylish with a bit of grip. 93/100

Domaine Gilles Paris Chroubles Cuvée Terroirs 2019 Beaujolais, France
From five plots at 400 m altitude, this is supple and juicy and rounded with nice purity to the textured cherry and berry fruits. There’s a bit of grip here, and a hint of biscuit on the finish. Warm and slightly savoury, this has a touch of mouse but the bottle had been open a while. 90/100

Domaine Gillles Paris Fleurie Grand Pré 2020 Beaujolais, France
Supple with good structure, this has some nice spiciness and acidity, as well as a bit of grip. Lovely brightness and intensity. 93/100

Domaine du Château de Grand Pré Morgon 2019 Beaujolais, France
Romain Zordan is the dude here. Lovely juicy, bright cherry and plum fruit with a bit of grip and some peppery hints. This shows good vibrancy with nice juiciness and texture. 92/100

Domaine du Château de Grand Pré Fleurie 2020 Beaujolais, France
Floral and vibrant; juicy and fresh. Lovely raspberry and cherry fruit. Zippy and nicely complex with pure raspberry fruit on the finish. 93/100

Yvon Métras Beaujolais Madame Placard 2020 France
Very fine, floral and elegant with a touch of beetroot. There’s some structure here with a touch of pepper, and also a slight meatiness. Such a vibrant wine. 94/100

Yvon Métras Fleurie Printemps 2020 Beaujolais, France
Very fresh, supple and elegant with a juiciness to the fruit as well as a touch of beetroot and spice. Lovely acidity here with nice intensity and real drinkability. A hint of reduction adds interest. 94/100

Yvon Métras Fleurie 2017 Beaujolais, France
12.5% alcohol. Juicy and fine; fresh and spicy. Lovely cherry fruit with an undercurrent of peppery spice and a sour cherry twist. This combines a bit of grunt with delicacy and drinkability, and it has a hint of wildness, too. Very complex and expressive and vert Métras. 95/100

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais Villages Vieilles Vignes 2020 France
Very floral and expressive with red cherry perfume. So rounded and supple with real finesse. This is a really lovely wine, showing precision and elegance. 94/100

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Vieilles Vignes 2020 Beaujolais, France
70 year old vines. This shows a sappy green edge to the sweet cherry and plum fruit, as well as a touch of pepper and fine spiciness. Vital and complex. 94/100

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Croix des Rameux 2020 Beaujolais, France
Ripe and intense with a touch of lift. Appealing smooth sweet cherry and plum fruit with a twist of blackcurrant. Has fine spicy complexity on the palate. A bold, ripe style. 93/100

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Eau Forte Rouge 2029 Vin de France
From 50 year old vines on SO4 rootstock. Concentrated, rounded and textured with a touch of sweet cherry and plum. Very silky, showing ripeness and fine spicy notes as well as some mineral notes. Has a slight stony minerality as foil to the fruit. 94/100

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Alma Mater Amphora 2019 Vin de France
Sappy nose with a touch of clay and earth. The palate is fine, fresh and supple with sweet red cherries and a touch of earthiness. Grainy, detailed and delicious. 94/100

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais Villages Le Rang du Merle 2019 France
14% alcohol. A cuvée made from late-picked grapes (a month later). This is sweet and fine with notes of cherries and leathyer, as well as good acidity. It’s nicely textured, with some warm, vibrant fruit. Distinctive and well balanced, and I really like it, even though I shouldn’t (picked later). 94/100

Domaine Thillardon Chénas Les Carrières 2020 Beaujolais, France
Pale in colour. Very fine, fresh, juicy and elegant with sappy red fruits and some nice juiciness. There’s lovely fruit here with a sense of elegance and precision, with a bit of structure to boot. 94/100

Domaine Thillardon Chénas Vibrations 2020 Beaujolais, France
100 year old vines, with no added sulfites. Very pale in colour. Finely spiced red fruit nose. Supple and warmly spiced with an acid lift. Lovely cherry and plum fruit with good acidity. Fresh, finely spiced and elegant showing lovely purity. 94/100

Domaine Thillardon Chénas Chassignol 2019 Beaujolais, France
This is from the vines closest to the winery. Elegant with a hint of liquorice. Lovely richness here: it’s concentrated with nice structure, some spiciness and nice depth and roundness. This is a very pure wine showing good concentration and precision. Structure combined with elegance. 95/100

Domaine Thillardon Moulin-à-Vent Alizés 2020 Beaujolais, France
Sweetly aromatic on the nose, this is ripe with lovely forward fruit. Rounded but with good fruit intensity and a bold, textural personality. 93/100

Domaine Thillardon Chénas Blemonts 2019 Beaujolais, France (magnum)
Juicy and bright with lovely precision. This is fine and fresh, showing elegant red cherry fruit and some spice, as well as a touch of raspberry. There’s delicacy and some fragility here – it’s really good. 94/100

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