Seriously terroir-focussed and enjoyable Beaujolais, Cru from Jean-Marc and Annick Lafont of Domaine de Bel Air. These are very high quality, organically produced and mineral-inflected wines. Quintessentially fine textured and bright with great concentration and a lovely, fine but still crisp, mouthfeel.
Jean-Marc and Annick Lafont and now with their daughter Mathilde, took over the domaine in 1986. Together they make top, mainly cru, Beaujolais. Their wines are some of the best - as you may know from past purchases, and excellent value. Beaujolais is also perfect for this time of year - spring leading into summer - and best served slightly chilled.
Katharine Maude recently tasted at the domaine so we can add some of her notes (she didn't taste the entire range) today and she describes her visit below;
"Getting to Domaine de Bel-Air driving from Beaune takes approximately 1 ½ hours. There is a notable change in the landscape, from the generally flat-ish area in the Côte d’Or to the almost Mountainous feel of Lantignié. As you ride the crest of the hill, in early October, the sunlight tilts at a brighter angle, the architecture changes from “north” to “south” (Flat tiles suddenly morph into chunky Spanish tiles), the roads are windy and tight and over steeply inclined and pretty hills (which would not take much to nudge over the edge). The temperature is a little more warm and languid with the vines changing colour from green to yellows and reds.
Annick and Jean-Marc Lafont are a warm and hospitable couple, who have been making wine since the early 1990s. Their experience and appreciation for quality was evident, with an adaptable approach, resulting in elegant, complex and silky wines. While their wine-making has been nearly organic for 9 years, they choose not to certify as organic because it allows them flexibility in how they raise their vines. (Following certified organic rules can be so strict that in tough years they’d have nothing to make the wine with!). The tasting itself was on their kitchen island (which we felt rather honoured about, as most tastings were held in the cellar), with their young golden retriever adding to the relaxed family vibe. As we were tasting the wine, the Lafonts pulled out various chunks of stone from each Cru. All markedly different, which you can taste in each individual wine.
Incredibly well priced for such high quality, versatile wines.