75cl * 13% ABV * Moulin-a-Vent, Beaujolais, France
The top two sites in Moulin-à-Vent are “Champ du Cour” and “La Rochelle”. In these sites growers are required to keep yields 20 – 30 hectolitres/ha, versus 56 hectolitres/ha for the rest of the appellation. Olivier Merlin’s holding was mostly planted in 1937, with a small section dating back to 1955 and his wines are characterised by a stunning purity and impeccable balance, demonstrating his exceptional winemaking talents. Merlin is great chums with Dominic Lafon, one of the rockstars of Meursault, and they have collaborated on many projects together.
Whilst Moulin-à-Vent is often described as the “King of Beaujolais” (made more akin to the wines of Burgundy rather than down in Beaujolais), the fruit from these two sites is definitely given the royal treatment. Grapes tend to be fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak, and Dominic helped Olivier source some particularly special old oak barrels that add a peppery, cocoa powder element to the wine.
A beautiful deep bluish colour, the nose evokes pepper, chocolate and ripe cherry. It is very dense and racy on the palate, the tannins are well present and velvety and the finish is very long. This is an excellent age-worthy wine. Try with seared duck breast with cherries or figs. Alternatively, pair with classic French dishes in a creamy sauce like chicken with tarragon or kidneys with mustard sauce or even a retro boeuf stroganoff.
Drink from 2024 to 2035.