Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Laurent Martray Brouilly “Corentin”

If you don’t know Cru Beaujolais wines, you’re missing out. These wines, made from 100% gamay, bear the name of their village (or Cru) on their labels: Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. They’re some of the freshest, juiciest, mineral-driven red wines in the world, and, when compared to their Burgundian pinot noir counterparts, they’re screaming values.

I recently enjoyed a 2007 Brouilly (pronounced something like BREW-YEE) from Laurent Martray called “Cuvée Corentin.” I don’t know if there’s a better way to spend $10 (the price I paid at auction). Laurent Martray farms 5 hectares (a little more than 12 acres) of vines in the granite-laden soils of Brouilly. He produces three cuvees, a Côte de Brouilly “Les Feuillées,” a Brouilly Vieilles Vignes and this Brouilly “Cuvée Corentin.” The Corentin comes from 60-year-old gamay vines in a vineyard that was first planted in 1927. It’s only a mild stretch to say you can taste the history in the glass.

(France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Brouilly)

Ruby-purple color. Tight upon opening, but slowly the aromas came out to show dusty sour cherries, red clay soil, rose petals. Tart red fruit kicks off the palate, like biting into cranberries and currants, and the acid carries the wine all the way through. Dusty tannins provide structure and a solid streak of minerals pervades this wine, like crushed granite and limestone. Some mushroom notes are starting to develop with age, and a nice earthy note lingers on the finish. I’m not a huge fan of 2007s in general, but this is showing nicely. It’s not done yet, but I’m not sure about aging it much longer.

88 points

This bottle is further proof that Cru Beajolais offers some of the best values in the wine world. And with great vintages (2009, 2010 and 2011) still on the shelves, there’s no better time to explore the Crus.

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