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An Alternative Christmas!

Wine selections for the festive period tend to have a familiar theme – a red Burgundy here, an oaky Rioja there, a tongue curling Sauvignon Blanc from the far side of the World and the ubiquitous glass or two of Port (just to finish everyone off). Our mixed case for you today is hardly what you might call a ’conventional’ or ‘blockbuster’ affair. A mixed case pairing of a Beaujolais Cru red and an IGP white from the Southern Rhone… slam dunk right? ‘’Holiday season sorted Margaret, I need look no further than this iconic duo for my December wine purchase!’’. However, we at Gauntleys want our selections for you this year to be more diverse and somewhat adventurous. It is easy to stick with what you know, or with what the current fickle cultural zeitgeist is labelling ‘In’ right now. However, regardless of region we have selected wines that, irrespective of appellation pedigree and vintage, are simply a joy to drink now. On their own, or as an accompaniment to a diverse range of festive dishes. The result of truly exemplary winemakers, who understand their craft on a level we mere mortals (wine educated or not) can only ogle at. How fortunate are we to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Louis Barruol and Jean Claude Lapalu are often referred to as ‘The Genius of Gigondas’ and ‘The Boss of Brouilly’. Now this would be high praise coming from anyone, but when these are the nicknames bestowed upon you by fellow winemakers in your region… that is rather high praise indeed. Both are winemakers who inherited their Domaines from their fathers in the 1990’s and made the ‘Giant Leap’ to bottle and market their own wines, rather than sell of grapes in bulk to cooperatives, believing the potential of their terroir for making world class wines was being wasted. Fastforward to today and both men are making wines that define their appellations. Sharing a love of organic and biodynamic practises, their wines have soul, life and focus like few you will come across.

2014 Brouilly ‘Cuvee des Fous’ Now this cannot be understated… this is NOT classic Beaujolais. Jean Claude’s bold and natural wine making process has been one of the big driving forces behind the seeming renaissance of Beaujolais in certain areas and for certain people, and it is wines like this magnificent ‘Cuvee des Fous’ that are the main contributers. Made from vines that are over 100 years old, the density and refinement here is awesome. Blackberry, briary fruit, black spices are accompanied by a limestone and flinty mineral backbone. The medium bodied palate is laced with supple and smooth tannins, surrounded by a core of very dark and pure berry and cherry fruits. It is sublime. The balance of tension and release, weight and levity. This is one of the finest examples of Beaujolais from Brouilly you will come across. The minimal use of sulfur imbues the wines with an energy and life that is so hard to describe, but undeniable when you taste it. This is why Jean Claude is known as the boss of Brouilly and it doesn’t get any better than this! I wouldn’t hesitate pairing this with a juicy cut of red meat or serious and spicy dishes, something Asian and exotic! Jean believes his wines really sing when drunk at a temperature of around 15°, so make sure to store these somewhere cool. Also, don’t be put off by the ‘Beaujolais’ title, this is a serious wine and can only benefit from a little decanting and time to breath.

2018 IGP Blanc ‘Deux Albion’ A stunning new cuvee in 2017, produced from 40% viognier, 30% Marsanne and 30% Picpoul (certainly an unusual but intriguing mix!). This is Louis’ answer to the markets (and our) increasing demand for interesting, good quality and good value Rhone white wines. It is also a certain passion project for Louis himself and is vinified from grapes coming from his newly purchased Saint Martin Vineyards in Violés. The limestone terroir here is reflected in the wine, giving a wonderful freshness, aromatic finesse and salinity. A meditative nose that one could contemplate for hours with dried Apricot, marsh mellow, heirloom rose and mint shining through and the palate is no less spectacular! The uncompromising and often self-critical Louis, has said that he is extremely proud of this wine, the outcome is unctuous and beautiful. We are very happy to be able to share it with you today. Do not think twice about the ‘IGP’ on the label, simply technicality, this is a world class, exotic and unctuous white wine. It is easily paired with dishes that feature creamy sauces, white fish, and roasted pork or chicken. Picpoul brings acidity to the blend and gives this wine salinity, making it a superb choice for cooked or raw shellfish. However, honestly this just scratches the surface of what this wine could potentially accompany. Honestly, go crazy. Get creative!

Brouilly Cuvee Des Fous and IGP Deux Albon Mixed cases –

Case x 12 Bottles containing – 6 bottles x 2014 Brouilly Cuvee Des Fous, Jean-Claude Lapalu 6 bottles x 2018 IGP Deux Albon, St Cosme Normal Retail Price - £238.62 Christmas Promotion - £202.90

Six Bottle Case Containing – 3 bottles x 2014 Brouilly Cuvee Des Fous, Jean-Claude Lapalu 3 bottles x 2018 IGP Deux Albon, St Cosme Normal Retail Price - £119.31 Christmas Promotion - £101.50

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