We flew from Dublin to Lyon on Monday January 21st, bumping into the Irish rugby team on their way to Faro, an experience my colleague Averil shall not forget. Hire vehicles acquired, we drove north, to the magical southern Burgundian appellation of Beaujolais. Technically Beaujolais has always been a part of Burgundy, but more recently it has forged its own path, and personality. What fascinates me personally about the Beaujolais region, is that, only one red grape is grown – Gamay – yet several amazing and differing expressions of this grape are to be found making their way to bottle and shelf, from Domaine Rochette.
We arrived at Domaine Rochette, as a cool and crisp evening descended. Nestled in the Ardières Valley near the village of Lantignié, we were warmly greeted by the proprietors, Matthieu and Chantal. The Rochettes work in a very traditional way, allowing their individual vineyard sites to express the notion of terroir rather than a heavy handed approach in the cellar. Following a brief tour of their wine making facilities we were treated to an amazing tasting and light supper, with the food (dare I mention the Quiche Lorraine, Darren) lovingly crafted by Chantal. When tasting through the 2017 wines; from the bright, elegant and breezy Beaujolais Villages, through the more expressive and structured Brouilly and Morgon, it became very clear than the 2017 vintage had really delivered a tremendous bounty. The Rochettes vinify 10 separate wines: 8 red, 1 white and 1 rose, all of which deserve praise, and really do convey a sense of place and harmony. We left their tasting with a fresh and invigorated sense of Beaujolais identity, fuelled by the quiche, and the passion by which Mathieu and Chantal lovingly craft these charming, fascinating and authentic wines. Special mention should be made of the Beaujolais Blanc that was unexpected and delicious. Born of the Chardonnay grape, it has no cause to be jealous of its northern neighbours, with subtle floral aromas and citrus nuance.