Drinking and enjoying the 2016 Domaine Paul Durdilly et Fils, Beaujolais “Les Grandes Coasses” this weekend—the delicious wine has juicy, pure red fruit, fine freshness and just a hint of ripe tannins in an otherwise soft, fruity finish. It shows that fine 2016 Beaujolais reds are available despite the incredibly difficult challenges that Mother Nature capriciously delivered to the region in this vintage.
Disastrous late Sping frosts preceded devastating June hailstorms. Aaron Ayscough’s first-hand accounts in “Not Drinking Poison in Paris” reported growers in Beaujolais crus such as Fleurie and Chiroubles losing almost entire harvests while growers in parts of Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent suffered losses in the range of 40% of the harvest. Andrew Jefford writing in “Decanter” reported similar dire results which he characterizes as “career-threatening” for some promising young Beaujolais growers.
The father and son team at Domaine Paul Durdilly experienced fewer challenges in 2016 thanks to their location just south of the Beaujolais crus. By purely fortunate circumstances, hail storms did not decimate the grapes near their village of Le Bois d’Oingt. Favorable sunny and dry conditions in September ripened the grapes evenly while retaining fresh acidity.
The Durdilly’s, according to their American importer Skurnik Wines, cultivate their best and oldest Gamay vines on hillside vineyards of granite and limestone resulting in fruit with more complexity, concentration and mineral-laden freshness than most simple Beaujolais reds. Hand harvesting enabled sorting of the fruit to prevent rotted fruit from going into the fermentation.
Equally important, the Durdilly’s allow indigenous yeasts, rather than cultured yeasts, to drive the fermentation. The fruit’s natural aromas and flavors shine pure and unaffected by the “engineered” banana and bubble-gum traits that cultured commercial yeasts impart to many standard Beaujolais reds.
The 2016 Domaine Paul Durdilly et Fils, Beaujolais “Les Grandes Coasses” has a lovely ruby color. Enticing floral aromas mingle with ripe raspberry and cherry notes. Juicy red fruit flavors balance with crunch, lip-smacking acidity. The wine finishes fruity, yet dry. Drink up and gulp away! Available for around $13,00 nationally in the United States.