'Les 3 Verres' 2018
Good things come to those who wait: in line at the grocery store or the wine shop. Good things come to those who wait: at the door of their flat for the Deliveroo guy (or girl, or person) to make their way up the stairs, touting sacks of soggy food and clinking bottles. Good things come to those who work hard and to those who occasion to come upon the easy life by way of inheritance or simple luck. Good things come in 750ml glass bottles. Good things come from the juice of crushed fruit, from the fermented sweet-water of old vines. Good things come from Julienás. Good (and possibly even great) things come from Domaine David-Beaupère.
I’m smashing a Gamay from the Beaujolias producer called ‘Les 3 Verres’ and I say smashing because the chuggability of this Julienás is next level. It goes down like a beer after a long service, like a lover on your birthday, like the British pound after Brexit, like sales of Merlot did after the movie Sideways came out. Down. Hard. Fast. That is not to say it is not worth savouring, it absolutely is, but this is wine that dares you to only have one glass.
Julienás is an appellation comprising of four villages in the northwestern point of Beaujolais, just above Chénas and Moulin-à-Vent; often noted (in contest with Régnié) as the site of the earliest vine plantings in Beaujolais. The many-named former engineering student and bread-peddler, Louis-Clement David-Beaupere, took over the domaine in 2008 which had been owned by his family since the mid-sixties; and with immediate conversion to organic farming, Domaine Beaupere (surprisingly) held the first ‘organic’ green flag in Julienás. The grapes for ‘Les 3 Verres’ coming from vines planted in 2014 on flat and deep-soiled sandy loam; which helps maintain freshness and prominence of fruit on the palate.
It’s the colour of grape soda (funnily enough) with splashes of purple haze and of the virgin red fruit that young wine has before time and oxygen take over and the tertiary ghost begins her downward spiral towards old age, toward vinegar. It looks a little bit mirky, like when your tea has just been dashed with milk and the two liquids struggle to blend. It looks cloudy in the delicious way that a dirty martini looks cloudy. It looks opaque in the way that a slutty borscht is opaque. It looks smoky in the way that bars used to be (when smoking was fun) and the music was loud and drinks were cheap and life was good. And with this juicy banger at your lips, mirky as it is in all the ways that unfined, unfiltered, organic plonk should be, things are certainly looking like they might be good once again.
The nose gives candy and bubblegum (thanks to a light carbonic maceration under cool conditions with harvested fruit sitting at 10’c in refrigerated containers and moving to concrete the following day to reach the 17’c standard) and has the memory-rich waft of seaside sweet shops about it, when you had only a handful of greasy pennies and your own indecision to reckon with. It smells like old English tea parlours with pink frosting on every sponge and sandwich towers at every window and tall flutes housing pink fizz. There’s also sweet spice and raspberry cordial and orange incense and green plums and that’s before it’s even wet the tongue. It smells like a retro perfume when flowers were favoured over the complexities of discreet foulness and oud. And it comes across as pretty. A prettiness that’d punch you right in the chops were you to call it such. A prettiness that wouldn’t mind rolling around in the mud (or hay).
The mouth immediately has me tasting cured meats, with a wax and spice running the tongue and tingling the lips. There’s Ocean Spray and cherry cola and underripe strawberry, when the sugars are a little reserved, a little shy and just on the edge of turning. And then it’s coppa or ham or salumi all over again. There is an enduring freshness to it, that serves to lift the fruit (and sausage) and make the whole thing seem light on it’s feet. This is rose-water spritz in a stuffy airplane. This is a walk through a wild garden-hose on a hot day. This is stepping into a cold shower, this is lugging yourself into a warm pub on a winter night. This is fresh like just-cut peonies, fresh like a skateboard injury that you got on your way out the park after landing a sweet move, fresh like dripping raspberries, the kind with tickling hairs that are texturally like the lips of a horse and deliciously in season. This is candied beetroot sprinkled with white pepper. This is crunchy with slate and tart with fruit.
It’s crisp and charming. And slightly sticky on the mouth, making you think of strawberry jams and country fetes and tiny pastries and those funny hats old ladies wear in the shower and the ineffable hum of Parisian alleyways and the dusty rustling of autumn. It is also slightly grainy or powdery in the mouth and it’s nice to have a Gamay with a little grip. It sort of feels like you’re sucking the wine through a ladies glove, perhaps the gloved hand that might touch that cheek.
It’s what I imagine warm blood might be to a young Dracula, what roadkill might feel like to a fender, what a mature sausage, seasoned and willing, would taste like to a patient charcutier. This is that red sap the squirrel has waited all winter for. The same red sap that the bats and the hummingbirds and warblers and revellers dream about. The same red sap the wild things line up for: at the trellised vine, outside the off-license, around the trendy wine bar, under the ancient tree. The same red sap that smacks of ‘Les 3 Verres’, of all things Good, waited for or not.
tasted May 2021