New Releases from Beaujolais

The hugely popular 2009 vintage in Beaujolais is a tough act to follow, but in a number of cases the 2010s have proven to be more than up to the challenge.  With rare exception I found the 2010s to be racier and more vibrant than their 2009 counterparts, with more emphasis on red fruit than the darker, denser 2009s.  The flip side is that few 2010s can match the best 2009s for middle-palate depth and sheer power; on top of that, the finest 2009s are also energetic, precise wines in their own right, even when compared to the '10s.

Two thousand ten yielded wines that are bright and approachable now, and the best of them have the depth of fruit to allow them to age for up to a decade.  Because of their vibrant fruit I suspect that they will never really shut down, but as the years go by that nervy acidity will diminish and more fruit sweetness will emerge.  My personal plan is to start diving into my stash in the next couple of years, when the wines are likely to be showing an optimal blend of liveliness and sweet fruit.

There has been plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking when it comes to the 2009s, and I've heard a number of people knocking them for lacking finesse, site-specific or even varietal character.  Yes, many of the wines are richer than one usually expects from Beaujolais, but few of the wines lack energy and, according to virtually every producer that I visit annually, the wines are still at least a few years away from being fairly judged.  My tastings this winter and early spring confirmed that many '09s are closing down and beginning to show a structure that was obscured by baby fat for the first year of their bottled lives, without loss of vivacity.  These are wines that I am cellaring with confidence and looking forward to drinking over the next decade.

Last year's Beaujolais coverage was dedicated almost entirely to wines from 2009.  Because of the uniformly high quality of the vintage many producers held off on releasing some or even all of their wines until recently so I have included them in this article.  Hence the mix of vintages that you'll find reviewed here.  There will be very few late-release 2010s so our next Beaujolais piece will be devoted almost exclusively to the 2011s, which are looking to be excellent, by the way.