Daniel Bouland 2020: Staggering Value from one of
the Brightest Stars of Beaujolais
“This tiny wine grower of the hamlet of Corcelette… has seduced us for a few years now with his concentrated and textured Morgons. The fruit weight in no way masks the almost wild minerality of the soil. These wines have an intensity that can only come from old vines that are impeccably cultivated… We do not hesitate to say that you will find here the best value for money in red wine [in this guide].” La Revue du Vins de France
Bouland’s 2020s are off the charts. For all the talk of low yields and lack of water, these wines revel in a quality of site transparency and the kind of bright freshness you would expect to see in a cooler, perhaps even classical vintage. The succulent, velvety richness of the vintage is offset by crisp acidity and finely chiselled structure: there is no doubt the venerable age of this grower’s vines, and their deep root systems, has played a leading role in the mouth-watering balance on offer here.
At the risk of exhausting our quota of Burgundian references this early in the month, here is a set of wines to knock the socks off anything from the north at the same price. Lovers of this Domaine can expect a stunning year—on par with the previous two, three or four (etc.) vintages. Do not hesitate.
As ever, unfortunately, very very limited availability, first in, best dressed.
2019 Daniel Bouland Morgon Délys
Mailout offer, $48/bt
This wine used to come to us simply as Morgon Vieilles Vignes, without the name of the vineyard or lieu-dit, but is now labelled Morgon Les Délys Vignes plantées en 1926. It comes from a single hectare of 90-plus-year-old vines located on the Morgon-Chiroubles border, at the end of the Corcelette valley—a terroir historically known as Délys. The old, gnarled vines sit on a southeast-facing slope, planted at 10,000 vines per hectare.
As always, this is likely to be Bouland’s most age-worthy wine and it is something special in 2019. It’s a superb Délys, expressing lifted mulberry fruit, lots of spice, hints of nettle and a certain, graphite-like minerality. Already a wonderful drink but, as always, the tannins are the most tightly wound, the steeliest, reminding us that this is a wine that will have no problem living and developing for decades.
“The 2019 Morgon Les Delys Vignes plantées en 1926 has turned out brilliantly, wafting from the glass with aromas of ripe cherries, blackberries, strawberries, sweet soil tones and spices. Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it's seamless and multidimensional, and with striking concentration, succulent acids and powdery tannins, it's long and penetrating. While this is carrying less puppy fat than the 2018 at the same age, it's still quite a demonstrative, fruit-driven vintage of Les Delys, and while it will be long-lived, it can also be approached young.” 95 points, William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
2020 Daniel Bouland Chiroubles Chatenay
$33.75/bt (sorry, sold out)
Perched between Morgon and Fleurie at around 400 metres above sea level, the vineyards of Chiroubles are the highest in Beaujolais. The vines sit on the upper slopes and in general, produce a Beaujolais that can be, to quote Gerald Asher, all “…lacy texture and sleek charm.” Bouland’s Chiroubles has a bit more stuffing than that. It comes from a 0.65-hectare parcel of 35- to 45-year-old vines on the steep, ridged incline of Chatenay, which has the typical granite and sandstone soils of the Cru. Protected by a nearby forest, it’s a warm, north-facing site.
There’s a hint of gentle reduction to open before the nose reveals freshly picked black cherries, fragrant blueberries, and softer notes of rose petals and crushed rock then hints of cumin and fennel seed. Light on its feet with crunchy, bright cherry fruit, it’s a delicious, engaging release with seamless flow and long, chalky finish.
2020 Daniel Bouland Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Mélanie
$52/bt (Sorry, Sold Out)
Named after Daniel Bouland’s daughter, Cuvée Mélanie is drawn from a small, steep, half-hectare plot on the slopes of Mont Brouilly. The 70-year-old vines are rooted on the area’s famous terres bleu (blue-tinted volcanic soils) within the lieu-dit of Tête Noire. It’s this volcanic blue schist that lends the wines of this Cru their unique mineral profile. Bouland’s 0.8-hectare parcel is planted at 12,000 vines per hectare.
As with all Bouland’s cuvées, this is a wine born from low yields and natural, whole-bunch fermentation. Densely packed with notes of cassis, blueberry, Vietnamese mint and charcuterie, the depth here is balanced by bright acidity, struck flint and supple yet structured tannins. This will complement any food that you’d pair with a good Nuits-Saint-Georges, not to mention it has the potential to improve in the cellar for years to come.
2020 Daniel Bouland Morgon Corcelette
Mailout offer, $48/bt
Now we enter the realm of Bouland’s spectacular, terroir-specific Morgons. This wine is the first of two cuvées that focus on Corcelette’s sandy, granitic soils. This soil generates wines of great perfume and finer, rounder tannins than those of Morgon’s more schist-influenced terroirs. Bouland separates his so-called ‘younger’ vines in this area (60 years on average so hardly young!) from his very oldest bush vines, which are bottled under the Vieilles Vignes label.
Like all Bouland’s wines this was whole-bunch fermented with indigenous yeasts and raised in very old foudre (large cask). This is a superb start to what are four stunning Morgons. Of the quartet, this is the prettiest and, in some ways, the most accessible to drink. It’s fragrant and perfumed with ripe raspberry, rosemary oil, potpourri and smoky minerality. Bouland’s calling cards of high spectrum bright fruits and delicate florals are telegraphed by red cherry and rose petal flavours, complemented by lavender, rosemary, and thyme/garrigue. There is a beautiful wildness to this year’s Corcelette, a wine gently shaped by fine, powdery tannins into a long, mineral finish. Simply gorgeous.
2020 Daniel Bouland Morgon Corcelette Vieilles Vignes (Sable)
Mailout offer, $48/bt
Most of Bouland’s offerings are technically old vine, but it’s only this and the Délys cuvée which celebrate the age of the vines on the label. This again comes from Corcelette but from vines on granitic sand soils (sable means sand). The vines were planted in 1926, so it’s truly a Vieilles Vignes cuvée. It is the sister wine, if you like, to the Cailloux (rocky) cuvée.
Unsurprisingly Bouland’s gnarled old trunks have over-delivered in this warm and dry vintage. Get ready for a symphony of cool raspberry and red fruits, delicate notes of currant, haunting wild herbs and smoke. It’s the purest, most concentrated and effortless of Bouland’s 2020 releases; the ripe, velvety tannins coating a core of electrifying acidity and culminating in a wine of lithe energy and elegance.
2020 Daniel Bouland Morgon Bellevue Cailloux
$52/bt (Sorry, sold out)
The majority of Daniel Bouland’s old bush vines are rooted within the Morgon climat of Corcelette, in the hilly Haut-Morgon to the northwest of the appellation. Within this area there are several lieux-dits that Bouland now bottles separately, and Bellevue is one of these. It’s a southeast-facing, particularly stony site (cailloux means rocks), with plenty of schist running through the granitic, sandy base soil (much like in the Côte du Py). The plethora of rocks on the surface traps and radiates warmth and, as a result this is Bouland’s earliest-ripening site. The vines were planted in 1951 and 1987. This is made the same way as all the Bouland wines: natural, whole-bunch ferment; concrete tank/foudre élevage; and no fining.
Another 2020 that dips into in the red fruit spectrum, expect a sweetly fruited core of cherry and wild strawberry characters rounded by the wine’s polished texture and gentle minerality. Both a celebration of elegance and the approachability of great Beaujolais, there are lingering fruit flavours that immediately draw you back to the glass.
2020 Daniel Bouland Morgon Délys
$52/bt (sorry, sold out)
This wine used to come to us simply as Morgon Vieilles Vignes, without the name of the vineyard or lieu-dit (it is now labelled Morgon Les Délys Vignes plantées en 1926). It comes from a single hectare of 90-plus-year-old vines located on the Morgon-Chiroubles border, at the end of the Corcelette valley—a terroir historically known as Délys. The old, gnarled vines sit on a southeast-facing slope, planted at 10,000 vines per hectare.
Frankly, it’s too cheap—in today’s market, this wine has no right to be released at this price. The nose kicks off with raspberry, crushed rock and a saline minerality, flecked with lavender and cherry blossom. The palate coats the tongue with buoyant, cool-fruited flavours of raspberry and cherry-skin, elegantly balanced by crisp acidity and finely chiselled tannins. If you can hold off, this is going to blossom in the cellar… But who are we kidding?
Click here or hit reply to email me and order