Allemand in Beaujolais
2014 Clotaire Michal
& Vignes Centenaires
Clotaire Michal spent five years working with Thierry Allemand in Cornas. In 2013, he settled in Beaujolais.
Naturally, there was a lot to be excited about when I heard about Clotaire Michal's wines. Having tasted them repeatedly, it's clear that they deliver on their promise.
While working with Allemand, Clotaire Michal produced tiny amounts of St. Joseph. He wasn't satisfied with the terroir that he was able to afford and started looking in Beaujolais. He fell in love with a 3.2ha parcel in St. Etienne la Varenne bordering Brouilly with lots of old vines.
There's a tiny plot of 100-year-old and over vines that he bottles separately in the Vignes Centenaires, which he only made 250 cases of in 2014. Even the vines for his basic bottling average 55 years old.
It's difficult not to detect Allemand's influence. The wines are painstakingly precise with incredible purity and finesse. With both bottles, what jumps out at you is the clarity of expression and lift. With air, there's an explosion of violets, dark fruits and jet-black minerality on the nose. The palate is tension-filled and walks on tip toe to the point of weightlessness.
Both bottlings are incredibly serious, boasting a tightly wound and incisive quality. The Centenaires is denser, more structured and more intense in its drive. These are wines that benefit greatly from aeration. Both bottlings are done with semi-carbonic maceration and seem much more ambitious than just fulfilling Beaujolais' reputation for joyful gulpability.
Of course, the 2014 is a great vintage to make a debut. Across the board, the 2014s have a vibrancy, concentration and balance that's hard to deny. Michal seems to consolidate the vintage's best attribute.
It's hard not to take notice of the renaissance that's happening in Beaujolais with a new cast of young growers pushing what the region can achieve. As spoiled as we've been by overdelivering bottles of Beaujolais, Michal's wines suggest that the best is yet to come.
To order, please email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits
2014 Clotaire Michal Beaujolais-Villages