2 May 2014
Julien Sunier 2011 Fleurie
From €16.50, £19.50, Au$47.95 and $60 a magnum
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I'm very much in a beaujolais mood at the moment, thanks to Purple Pager Thomas De Waen who organised a great tasting of old beaujolais the other day, proving that this is a wine that, contrary to common belief, can age delightfully. This set me wondering which wines to recommend to buy now for potential cellaring. The 2011 vintage was particularly successful in Beaujolais, resulting in wines with exceptional ripeness, concentration and, it is thought in the region, exceptional potential for ageing.
Julien Sunier 2011 Fleurie would be a superb candidate. I have been struck by the quality of every one of his wines I have been lucky enough to taste. As I outlined in Young ones in Beaujolais, he was brought up in Dijon to the north and rents three hectares of 40- to 65-year-old vines in Regnié, Morgon and Fleurie. I first met Julien Sunier and his wines courtesy of London wine merchant Roberson whose adventurous scouting in California I will be reporting on next week. Now it is Berry Bros who import his superlative, hand-crafted beaujolais into the UK. Here's what Berry's Burgundy specialist Jasper Morris MW has to say about him:
'Julien Sunier is an adventurous young man who installed himself in the Beaujolais in 2008. His wines offer a superb expression of purity, organically grown and with minimal sulphur used at the bottling. This Fleurie comes from an amphitheatre of mature vines, 45 to 65 years old, situated at the very top of the appellation, around 470 m, in a lieu-dit nicknamed Niagara. The 2011 has a beautiful pure light bright pink to purple colour. The bouquet shows lovely peppery notes along with the roses; medium bodied, enormously elegant, silky and very persistent. Perfect balance of fruit and acidity.'
My tasting note was 'Luminous pale ruby. Broad, complete, spicy and very mouth-filling fruit with some delicacy. This seems to have it all. Delicacy and real life but lovely fruit and no excess sweetness but not uncompromisingly dry. There is something burgundian about this, and it could be difficult to find this much pleasure from a burgundy at this price. Such purity and vibrancy... 12.5%'
I gave this lovely wine 17 out of 20 and suggested drinking it between 2013 and 2017 but in the light of last week's tasting of beaujolais back to 1970, I think you should buy this wine in quantity and keep some of the bottles for quite a bit longer than that.
The Fleurie 2012 is also available in Belgium, the US and Australia. In the UK Berrys also have his slightly lighter 2011 Regnié at £16.95. Roberson have his Fleurie and Morgon 2012s, in both bottle (£19.95) and handsome magnums (£43.95). Now there's an idea….
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