2011 Gilles Gelin Beaujolais Villages
 
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Gilles Gelin 2011 Beaujolais "NOIR"

When the clusters arrived at the winery, Gilles Gelin was stupefied. Beaujolais had just been treated to a miracle growing season. The harvest began in the third week of August, almost three weeks ahead of 2010. The crop was small. Berries were tiny but loaded with natural sugar. Skins were thick. "If everything goes right in the cellar," Gelin told us a week after harvest, "2011 will outdistance 2009." As we discovered last June in Lancie, everything went perfectly.

As we sipped this pitch-black 2011 Beaujolais-Villages at Gelin's tasting table in June, the gregarious 37-year-old winegrower described the improbable growing season that would give birth to the most voluptuous Gamay harvest since 1976. "2010 was a cool vintage and harvest came fairly late. We used to say in the region that we never harvest twice in 12 months. But, in 2010, we began picking on September 13. In 2011, we finished on the same date."

After a wet winter that would replenish the underground water table, spring came out like a lamb. April and May were unusually warm, making for early bud-break. When June and July continued warm and dry, Gelin's old vines were a full three weeks ahead of 2010, and one ahead of the sensational 2009 vintage. "Even with the wet winter," Gelin told us, "we were worried in July. The vines were really beginning to suffer. We'd barely had a drop of rain since April and temperatures had been high." Then, as if on cue, in the last week of July and first week of August, the skies opened up almost every afternoon. Those showers were just what the plants needed, perking them up for the home stretch.

The first call to harvest came on August 20, nearly a month ahead of 2010. The crop size was small, down close to 25 percent from the norm. Clusters, particularly on Gelin's 40-year-old vineyards, were small. Skins were unusually thick. "Two decades ago," Gilles told us, "my father was obliged to chaptalize his Beaujolais (adding sugar so as to pump up alcohol to 12-12.5 percent). In 2011, we didn't chaptalize and we didn't acidify. The wine — as you can see — is NOIR!"

Gilles Gelin's astounding 2011 Beaujolais-Villages is glistening deep purple in color, infused with vinous aromas of black raspberry, sweet herbs, underbrush and pine needles. Unusually concentrated and powerful on the attack in many ways structured more like a warm-vintage Pommard than anything Beaujolais the core is packed with black and red fruits as the fine tannin finish keeps the staggering opulence of the vintage in perfect check.



Tasting Notes

2011 Gilles Gelin Beaujolais Villages
"Gilles Gelin's astounding 2011 Beaujolais-Villages is glistening deep purple in color, infused with vinous aromas of black raspberry, sweet herbs, underbrush and pine needles. Unusually concentrated and powerful on the attack — in many ways structured more like a warm-vintage Pommard than anything Beaujolais — the core is packed with black and red fruits as the fine tannin finish keeps the staggering opulence of the vintage in perfect check. Drink now-2018."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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