IFW Vissoux DinnerMarch 13, 2012
International Fine Wines recently held a IFW Vissoux Dinner at Comme.
Robert, myself and an enthusiastic band of Beaujolais-lovers gathered at Melbourne’s Comme Kitchen for dinner in the company of the affable and supremely passionate Pierre-Marie and Martine Chermette, proprietors/winemakers of the trailblazing Domaine Vissoux Estate. Comme Executive chef Daniel Southern designed the lovely menu below to sympathetically match the wines, and so the scene was set!
Much discussion was centred on the differences in soil types/composition between Southern Beaujolais (predominately clay and limestone and less suited to top level Gamay production) and the three Cru Beaujolais in the north of the region within which the Chermettes own plots and are sited on Gamay’s preferred soil partner – granite. The Chermette’s, while based in a small granitic outcrop of Saint Vérand, in the south of the region, have owned exceptional parcels in the North since the early 90’s – namely in Brouilly (blue granite/ very stony), Fleurie (pink granite rich in mica and quartz) and Moulin-à-Vent (pink granite rich in manganese). It was also very interesting to taste and explore the differences between two cuvees coming from different parcels within the Fleurie Cru. The ethereal, charming Poncié is a stark contrast to the pungent, denser and more mineral Les Garants.
We were also treated to a selection of back vintages that the Chermette’s (in some cases) had to procure back from the cellars of friends, as they didn’t have any left in their library stocks. It was fascinating to see how Beaujolais matures (it’s not a wine that I immediately think of putting down in the cellar for a few years, but after this tasting I will be inclined to). To single out one older vintage in particular, the 1996 was stunningly elegant; displaying aromas of dried herbs, leather, funky earthy notes and a savoury yet delicate meatiness it had taught, filigree structure and a fan of flavours on the back palate, reminiscent of mature Burgundy. When I mentioned this to Pierre he smiled and told us the French actually have a verb to describe this “anomaly”; Pinoter or ‘to become like Pinot’ and it is most often used in reference to great wine that come from the most ‘forceful’ Beaujolais terroirs: Côte de Brouilly, Moulin-à-Vent, Morgon and certain sites in Fleurie.
The Chermette’s were thrilled to taste their older wines in context with the younger vintages and also with food (not something they get to do that often due to the rarity of the wines) and it was certainly a pleasure for Robert and I and our guests to delve deeper into the wonders of Beaujolais from this exceptional producer.
On Arrival: Pacific Oysters, mignonette dressing
NV Vissoux Cremant de Bourgogne Brut
Lovely rounded yet dry palate, biscuit and almond notes- a cracker for the price and a great alternative to ‘bulk’ Champagne.
Entree: Chicken liver & fois gras parfait, pickled beetroot, young herbs & brioche
2010 Vissoux Cuvee Traditionnelle
Very pretty and feminine, notes of violets, fresh red berries. Delicious. Will age for 5-6 years.
2010 Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux
Opens early with a minerally expression, but still wonderfully plush and aromatic- has slightly more sinewy tannins than the Traditionelle. Vineyard bought in 2006.
2010 Vissoux Fleurie Poncié
Very feminine. A lifted nose with roses and violets. Beautiful plump fruit in the mouth, soft tannins and a talcy/ powdery mouth feel.
Main Course: Gippsland Rabbit 3 ways, crisp courgette flower with pea & tarragon mousse, confit lemon.
2010 Vissoux Fleurie Les Garants
You can clearly see a more masculine sinewy thread to this wine compared to the Poncié. Deeper, darker fruit spectrum- blackberries, currants, notes of soy with dryer, firmer grippy tannins.
2009 Vissoux Fleurie Les Garants
Displays power and fruit weight from the more forward 09 vintage- opulent dark fruits, silky ripe tannins- an all round hedonistic delight! 2003 Vissoux Fleurie Les Garants Shows the warmth of the vintage- more masculine with a forceful core, meaty with notes of stewed plums and leather and a glycerol texture.
1996 Vissoux Fleurie Les Garants
Aromas of dried herbs, leather, funky earthy notes, savoury yet delicate. Beautifully balanced, high acidity from cooler year. An elegant lady that seems to be ageless.
Cheese: Marcel Petite Comte AOC, grapes, quince paste & petit herbs.
2010 Vissoux Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches
Intense, dark black fruits, plush and layered on the palate with a lovely mineral core. A gorgeous wine, keeps you coming back to the glass.
2009 Vissoux Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches
Displaying more ripeness, alcohol and power than the 2010.
2000 Vissoux Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches
Reminds me of an old Hunter River Burgundy – roses, leather and tar on the nose and palate.
Source: International Fine Wines: IFW Vissoux Dinner