About This Wine
Vissoux's emblematic Cuvée Traditionnelle Vieilles Vignes was first bottled in 1986 - at the behest of Jean Brouilly, the Michelin-starred chef of Tarare Restaurant. The idea behind this wine was to be a counter-reaction to the prevailing, highly industrial tendencies in Beaujolais of the time. It instantly caused a sensation, launching the fame of the Chermette wines and igniting heated debates within the region. Inadvertently or not, this low sulphur, hand-picked, old vine, organic, whole bunch, natural yeast fermented, unchapitalised, low yield (pauses for breath!), unfiltered wine had critiqued the oceans of bland, homogenised Beaujolais being produced in the region. It had raised the bar considerably for 'standard', non-cru Beaujolais and it remains today a benchmark. In fact, this is still an atypically, 'traditional' Beaujolais and one of the most succulent, rewarding and authentic wines you could hope to find in the region. And look at the price! Only in Le Beaujolais! The fruit source is four hectares in St Vérand, sited on a patch of dark granite (within a limestone-rich area), a soil that that partly accounts for the wine's 'cru' level depth and minerality. The vine age also helps, being 35 to 85 years old. These vines produce a considerably deeper, plumper, silkier wine than the Griottes. Already dripping with floral, spicy, red and black currant and cherry fruit this has a fabulous texture shot through with lip-smacking acidity and some fine tannins. Again, the price is peanuts bearing in mind how much you are getting.
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Wines from Beaujolais
The Beaujolais region is in the southern part of Burgundy or the central-right part of France near the Swiss city of Geneva. While administratively considered part of the Burgundy wine region, the climate is closer to Rhône and the wine is sufficiently individual in character to be considered separate from Burgundy and Rhône.
Beaujolais is synonymous with the Gamay grape, as that is almost all of what they make there. Gamay is a red grape with thin skins and so produces red wine with low tannins. Gamay from the region also tends to be very light-bodied for a red wine and relatively high in acidity.
The region is also renowned internationally for it’s use of carbonic maceration. This is a winemaking technique where whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment prior to crushing. Normally, wines are crushed to free the pulp and juice which is then fermented with yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol. Wines that are made by carbonic maceration are fruity and are very low in tannins as they haven’t had as much skin contact. Wines are also ready to drink quickly but lack the structure for long-term aging.