Domaine Calot Morgon Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Unique 2014
The Calot family has cultivated vines and made wine in Beaujolais since the 1930s. From even the domaine's early days, it was clear that Domaine Calot made serious Beaujolais wines, bold, silky and age-worthy, from the finest terroirs in Morgon.
The family cares for some 25 acres of vineyard land, most of which is located in cru Morgon with other holdings in the general Beaujolais appellation.
Representing the family's second-generation, Jean Calot had always been a serious artist among too many casual grape growers, many of whom held that Beaujolais wines should be simple and fun, not profound or age-worthy. Each vintage, Calot wines prove that Gamay at its best can be as complex and long-lived as Burgundian Pinot Noir.
Morgon is one of the more muscular and concentrated of Beaujolais’ crus. The family’s ancient vines (many 100 years old or older) deliver rich yet balanced flavors. One of the more rewarding cellar decisions you can make is to stash a few bottles of Calot Morgon in the cellar, to later discover the silky nuance and spice of well-aged cru Beaujolais.
Jean passed away in 2015. His brother François, and François’ son Vincent, had for years worked by Jean’s side and are today ably continuing his vision. The family’s high-altitude vineyards are cared for according to sustainable principles, avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides and farming as naturally as possible.
The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.
Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.
Four styles of Beaujolais exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.
Delightfully playful, but also capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-packed wines. From Beaujolais, Gamay generally has three classes: Beaujolais Nouveau, a decidedly young, fruit-driven wine, Beaujolais Villages and Cru Beaujolais. The Villages and Crus are highly ranked grape growing communes whose wines are capable of improving with age whereas Nouveau, released two months after harvest, is intended for immediate consumption. Somm Secret—The ten different Crus have their own distinct personalities—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant and Morgon is structured and age-worthy.