Jean-Marc Burgaud

Beaujolais, Part 6

Jean-Marc Burgaud is based in Villié-Morgon, in the heart of the most celebrated of the crus. He began working here in 1989, when he had a hectare each in Beaujolais Villages, Regine and Morgon. Three years later he got his first bit of Côte du Py. Now he's got 17.5 hectares, with 4.5 ha in Beaujolais Villages, a hectare in Regnie, and the rest in Morgon, including a sizeable 8 hectares of Côte du Py.

When he started out, he rented 3 hectares of vines and made his wines in a cellar in a castle owned by his aunt, called Château de Thulon. This is where his Beaujolais Villages comes from.

Burgaud’s wines are quite structured and yet they avoid being overpowering or too extracted. He works in quite a reductive way, and young these wines can show a bit of matchstick/mineral/spice reduction, but this sets them up nicely for some ageing. I really loved his 2014s, which show a sense of place. The Côte du Py Javernières, which has the most alluvial soils in this climat, is sensational, as is the special bottling called ‘James’, which is from the top of the south side.

Winemaking here is with the stems. 'I never destem', he says. Instead, the difference between the wines is the time on skins, which ranges from 7 days for the Villages, 10 days for the Morgon Charmes and 15 days for the Côte du Py. He learned the importance of maceration time from Charmes. 'In the past, my idea of Morgon was a rich wine with a lot of tannin to keep for a long time,' he says. 'In Les Charmes if you have a long maceration you lose the fruit and get a green taste. It was a big problem for me for 10-15 years.' He says that when there is good balance in the wine you can drink it and keep it.

It was really interesting to try the 2015, which is an atypical vintage in the region because of the heat and dryness, and which has resulted in powerful, structured wines that tend to be a bit on the big side if the winemaking was handled sensitively. 2015 is being widely heralded by most of the growers as the best they have seen, because despite the ripeness they also had good natural acidity. But winemaking wasn’t easy: many winegrowers found it hard to get the fermentations to complete, and have had to delay taking the wine out of tank or barrel for blending and bottling. Burgaud’s 15s are looking very good indeed, but it’s early days.

He likes to get his hands dirty, and spends 80% of his time in the vineyard and the cellar. 65% of his sales are export, which he is happy about. 'It's important that if you write your name on the label that you work in the vineyard,' he says. 'I have two employees but I work with them.'

He thinks that Beaujolais is an interesting region and that people are beginning to think differently about it. 'In France it is difficult, but in export markets it is different,' he says, pointing out that it is hard to find Gamay elsewhere. 'I'm optimistic always. I think the most important problem in Beaujolais is the grower. But we have a nice region and we have a majority of the world's Gamay.'

We did a vertical of the Côte du Py, looking at 2010 (beautiful), 2008 (a weaker year), 2005 (tannic but pretty), 2002 (just lovely) and 1995 (sensational). We finished with a bottle of 1964 (not Jean-Marc’s), but he was disappointed it wasn’t showing as well as he’d hoped. Still, a lovely way to end a really lovely visit.


Jean-Marc Burgaud Les Vignes de Thulon Beaujolais Villages 2016 France
12.5% alcohol. This is from the Château de Thulon in Lantignié, which is one of the top villages with its granitic hillside vineyards, and is probably close to cru status. 50 year old vines. Nicely structured with a gravelly, grainy, spicy underpinning to the sweet raspberry and cherry fruit. It has a slightly abrupt finish, with firm tannins clamping in on the fruit, but there’s also a nice fleshiness and density here. Finishes fresh with a hint of blackcurrant, this is serious cru-level Beaujolais at a good price. 91/100 (06/18)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Les Vignes de Thulon Beaujolais Villages 2015 France
Lively, powerful and concentrated with bold raspberry and black cherry fruit. Structured yet fresh with a slightly sappy edge to the stony, grainy palate. 92/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Les Vignes de Thulon Beaujolais Villages 2014 France
Lovely nose of raspberry, damson and some spice. Has some herby notes and a touch of rhubarb. Flesh, slightly grippy palate shows raspberries, cherries and a bit of reduction. 91/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Regnie Vallieres 2014 Beaujolais, France
Granite and sand soils. 'After the rain you can walk in the vineyard and your shoes are clean,' says Jean-Marc. Lively and fresh with a raspberry and red cherry nose. The palate has a hint of matchstick reduction and nice grippiness. Focused and tight with good acidity and a savoury edge. Raspberries dominate. 92/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Regnie Vallieres 2015 Beaujolais, France
Supple and quite fresh, showing vivid raspberry and cherry fruit. Powerful with lively acidity and focus. Dense wine with firmness and structure. Intense but sweetly fruited. 92/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Les Charmes 2014 Beaujolais, France
This is from the northwest part of Morgon, with granite and a small part of clay, and it makes fresher wines. Sweetly aromatic with lovely purity. Smooth cherries and raspberries with a hint of damson. Concentrated fresh palate with fine peppery reductive notes supporting the raspberry and red cherry fruit. Has substance and structure. 93/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Les Charmes 2015 Beaujolais, France
This has lovely sweet, vivid, direct raspberry and blackberry fruit with a direct personality. Grippy but with generosity of fruit. Summer pudding. 93/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Les Charmes 2013 Beaujolais, France
Supple, fine, peppery and bright with lovely cherry and plum fruit. Grippy and detailed with a pure, sappy, linear character. Drying finish. 92/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Grand Cras 2014 Beaujolais, France
Powerful, lively, rich and dense with raspberry and cherry fruit, as well as a hint of beetroot. Vivid and powerful with real grip. Tannic and firm with high acidity. 92/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 2016 Beaujolais, France
Refined for Burgaud, with nice structure under the pure red cherry and plum fruit. Has grip and focus with red fruit brightness and lovely elegance. 93/100 (06/18)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 2014 Beaujolais, France
Reductive and mineral with a matchstick nose. So lively and intense with high acidity. Direct and firm with real grip and intent. Linear, detailed and showing firm tannins. 93/100 (05/16)

Jean Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py Javernieres 2014 Beaujolais, France
This is from a more alluvial part of Côte du Py. Brooding and smooth with pure black cherry, raspberry and red cherry fruit. Amazing finesse on the palate with focused blackcurrant fruit. Amazing finesse. 95/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 'James' 2014 Beaujolais, France
This is a barrel selection. Lively, intense and very fresh with high acidity and grippy, firm, vivid tannins. Powerful stuff with lovely focus and fine yet fine-grained tannins and raspberry fruit. 95/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 2010 Beaujolais, France
Finely expressive and aromatic with an expressive nose of pepper and red cherries. Mineral with some plummy sweetness and fine-grained tannic structure. Fragrant, fine and elegant with nice tannic grip. Lovely finesse here. 94/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 2008 Beaujolais, France
Cherries, herbs and a hint of earth, as well as smooth red fruits on the nose. Mellow and delicious, showing some maturity. Hints of leather and herbs with some cherry and damson. A little austere. 89/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 2005 Beaujolais, France
Lovely aromatics: sweet cherries, plums, a hint of iodine, dried herbs and leather. The palate has firm tannins but also generous fruit with some sappy notes, and sweet cherries and plums. Nice weight: tannic but pretty. 94/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 2002 Beaujolais, France
Finely expressive and beautifully perfumed, with sweet cherries and herbs, as well as earth and lavender. So floral. The palate is supple and mature with earth, spice and nice tannins. Very fine and expressive. 94/100 (05/16)

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 1995 Beaujolais, France
ery floral and expressive with hints of malt and iodine. Subtle herb and mushroom. Lovely red cherries and plums on the detailed palate, with amazing focus and a bit of grip. So wonderfully expressive. 95/100 (05/16)


Part 1, Yvon Metras
Part 2, Pierre Cotton
Part 3, Yann Bertrand
Part 4, David Chapel
Part 5, Château Thivin
Part 6, Jean-Marc Burgaud

Wines tasted as indicated (mm/yy) 
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