Yann Bertrand Julienas ...100%
90% Gamay 10% Chardonnay
Julienas, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
From the importer-
Bertrand’s fingerprint is unmistakable: cold carbonic maceration means these wines are deeply fruited and joyful in character—with strawberry and brambly red fruit sometimes veering into black—but they aren’t terribly extracted or over-ripe. Longer élevage in used wood, mostly barriques, ensures the wines get oxygen and develop more elegant characteristics to balance the carbo. Mercifully, it’s one of those Domaines where carbonic maceration makes sense and isn’t a goofy stylistic choice without context or historical precedent. What ties it all together is the lack of SO2 used for most bottlings, and when it’s used it’s in tiny amounts—freshness and vivacity are emphasized; tannin and oxygen included during vinification ensures the wines’ stability. And, of course, all of that is made possible by the vitality and health of Bertrand’s vineyards and careful farming.
In terms of the vintage, 2020 is a high-acid, bright year, so expect freshness and minerality front and center. Two of the top estate wines, the ‘Vieilles Vignes’ and the very special ‘Cuvée de Chaos,’ have been kept back for an extra year of bottle age. The 2020 Morgon ‘Dynamite’ we usually get is currently being held back also for an extra year of bottle age: a new development for Yann as he gains the ability to give some of the flagship cuvées the time they deserve. Don’t sleep on the three micro-négoce wines, however—the Juliénas ‘100%,’ the Saint-Amour ‘Les Bambins,’ and the Beaujolais Supérieur ‘Oh!’ are all old-vines, single-parcel bottlings, unique expressions of Beaujolais terroir put through Bertrand’s happy lens.
From the farthest-north cru in Beaujolais, which piqued Yann’s interest, as it’s a very different terroir from his own—sandstone, schist, and white clay soils, plus 10% Chardonnay from the same vineyard, co-fermented! Cold carbo, 7-9 months in old barrel and demi-muids, no SO2 added at bottling.