I bump into Romain Zordan of Château de Grand Pre fresh off the tractor, where he’s been spraying the vines. It’s a bright morning, but the night before it rained, so he’s applying copper and sulfur to stop the emergence of any disease in his Fleurie vineyards.
He began Grand Pre in 2012, taking over his parent’s vines. He got half the domaine, and his cousin Yann Betrand got the other half – they share a tasting room. As well as 6 hectares in Fleurie, Romain has a couple in Morgon, and half a hectare in Beaujolais Villages in Chanteray. Everything is farmed organically.
There’s a small negoce as well. For example, his Chardonnay is bought in because he doesn’t think it works on granite, hence he buys from limestone soils in the south. He’s actually planted some Chenin Blanc in Fleurie, because he loves it, and reckons that the success it has in South Africa on granitic soils bodes well for its chances here.
We walk around the vines. They have around 40 cm of loose top soil, then it’s the pink granite bedrock found through much of Fleurie, which is one of the more granitic crus. Most of the vines are ultra-close planted gobelet (bush vines), but he’s replanted 1.2 hectares at a slightly wider spacing, and with a higher fruiting zone, which makes it much easier to farm. The material for these new blocks came from Chanudet, and the vines were joined to the rootstock with the greff anglaise, which is potentially more long-lived than the ubiquitous omega graft.
In one plot he’s doing tressage (braiding the growing shoots together rather than trimming them) but the motivation from this is to protect the grapes from the sun more.
Yields are 25-35 hl/hectare yields for estate wines, which is quite low.
Most of the winemaking is semi-carbonic maceration using whole bunches, and sometimes quite long macerations. Romain is not a big fan of Burgundy-style winemaking for Gamay. The length of the maceration is decided for each cuvée. They just taste the juice every day and when they think it is time to press they do.
2022 was a dry, early vintage, with no rain from June to the end of August. The started harvest 25 August, which is a record here. Harvest normally starts 10 September.
Finally, where barrels are used, all of them come from a domaine Romain used to work for in Meursault. Previously used for Chardonnay, he takes them when they’ve reached the end of their useful life there.
C Jordan Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay 2022 France
13% alcohol. From good friends who farm organically. Clay limestone soils from Blacé, 35 year old vine.Wild yeast, unfined and lightly filtered, elevange in old barrels for seven months. Some sulfites added at bottling. This was bottled 10 days ago. Lovely focus and freshness with bright citrus fruit with some riper pear and apple notes. Nicely textured with lovely focus to the fruit, showing some chalk and oyster shell notes. 93/100
Château De Grand Pré Beaujolais 2022
13% alcohol. Carbonic maceration, 6 days in concrete tanks (fill them then add some CO2) and then press and ferment the rest off the skins (density is 1030 on pressing), elevage in concrete tanks. Supple and generous with sweet cherry fruit showing nice almond and iodine detail, as well as lovely chalky texture. Fresh and juicy with nice brightness but also generosity and depth. Delicious. 93/100
Château De Grand Pré Fleurie 2022 Beaujolais
12.8% alcohol. Carbonic maceration for 18-20 days. Seven months in barrel, older. Very fine and fresh with lovely cherry and plum fruit with nice texture and dense fruit, showing some structure and a slight mint and herb twist to the bold fruit. Layered and complex with some waxy hints as well as pepper and olive notes. Lovely density. 94/100
Château de Grand Pre Morgon 2022 Beaujolais
60 year old vines, and this is the north part of Morgon, Duby climat, with granite with a bit of schist. Quite rocky. Old barrels, similar elevage to the Fleury. Nice density and structure here with a more black fruit character. Brooding with good tannins and nice black cherry and blackberry fruit. There’s ripeness but also some good structure. Serious effort with a long life ahead of it. 94/100
Cuvée Speciale 2022 Beaujolais
90 year old vines. 40 days maceration, elevage in demi muids, 10 years old or so. Spicy nose with lively cherry and raspberry fruit. Dense, rich, but not heavy on the palate with vital cherry and plum fruit and a fine spicy note, as well as some sweetness to the acidity. Has weight but also elegance and a grainy, chalky edge to the fruit. Just a little VA here (0.65) but it fits in really well. 94/100
Côte du Brouilly 2022 Beaujolais
From the blue stones in the south part. This was carbonic. Lovely ripeness here with balance and restraint. Stony edge to the sweet cherry and plum fruit. Has nice weight and spice. Lovely texture to this wine, with ease but also a hint of seriousness. 93/100
UK agent: Uncharted Wines
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