2016 Château de Grand Pré Brouilly ‘Le Loup’
Region: Beaujolais < Burgundy <France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic (ECOCERT) with biodynamic practices; schist & sandy soils. 40-year-old vines, long carbonic fermentation, then gently transferred into neutral oak barrels and demi-muids for several months; bottled both unfined and unfiltered with no added sulfites; 12.5% ABV; 400 cases (80 for the US)
Winemaker: Romain Bertrand
In 1972, Louis and Renée Bertrand purchased the 18th century estate of Château de Grand Pré and its respective vineyards. Their children took over and began the conversion to organic and biodynamic farming. Then Louis and Renée’s grandson, Romain, returned to Beaujolais after working at wineries around the world, and helped the estate become certified organic through ECOCERT in 2009. Romain then built upon this eco-friendly mindset by implementing natural practices in the winery (little-to-no sulfite additions, natural yeasts, neutral barrels).
Grapes were sourced from the lieu-dit “Gorge de Loup” (loup = wolf), near the northeastern reaches of Brouilly, and harvested at yields comparable to those of Grand Cru Burgundy. The mouthfeel is gorgeous - supple berry textures and layers of minerality, with fine tannins and just the slightest prickle on the palate when the wine is first opened to remind you this wine is alive, without preservatives to dampen its exuberance. The bright and poppy red fruit is enhanced by a sprinkle of black pepper and cinnamon, and croutons of crunchy minerality. If you want to be fancy, open the bottle or decant for 30 minutes to let it settle and fully express itself – and don’t forget the slight chill, which we think Gamay always wants. One final note: this is the inaugural vintage of Le Loup and quantities are dangerously low: only 80-odd cases made it to the entire U.S.—400 total cases were produced, but the Frenchies loved this wine and drink most of it themselves. We got the last 4.2 cases in the US, and it will go fast! So don't f this up, this is the Beaujolais to drink and to hold, to order by the truck (or case)-load; if only it were available in such quantity.