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FEATURED: Beaujolais' Rookie of the Year

Pauline Passot is a special talent.There's no denying it. Listening to her tell us about her wines was a special treat. Tasting her impeccable first vintage was eye opening. She crafts excellent cru Beaujolais for Chiroubles-based Domaine Grosse Pierre, where she recently succeeded her parents as winemaker.

In her first vintage, Passot nailed it. These are some of the freshest and prettiest 2018s we’ve tasted, every wine in the lineup showing impressive poise and terroir-determination.

It’s nice to see such a talent hailing from Chiroubles. With its airy red-fruited core and pert minerality, Pauline’s supple entry-level wine, “Claudius”, is a gorgeous, textbook rendition of this underrated cru. Chiroubles as it is meant to be seen! It comes from an old-vines (90 years!) vineyard on sandy soils.

For more richness (just), look to her Morgon single-vineyard, “Douby”. Here there are more exotic notes, like licorice and spice, streaking through the slightly darker and broader fruit. Again, it’s a very classical rendition of its terroir, seen through the lens of Passot’s penchant for elegance and freshness. 

The same could be said of the Fleurie Bel-Air, which expresses the lithe, lavender-laced strawberry-and-red plum notes associated with this high-elevation cru. It seems Pauline, who worked at a wine bar in Dublin and as a sommelier, has a real grasp on the underlying personality of each cru. Her vision is tangible in the glass, but never wavers from the singularity of each terroir.
Vinification is achieved in traditional semi-carbonic fashion, and the wines are usually aging in concrete. She barely adds any sulfur (just a little at bottling) but her wines are very clean and composed.

If there was a “Rookie of the Year” award for Beaujolais, Pauline would take the honors for her excellent 2018s. It’s exciting to think that there are still new names to discover in 2020, even in familiar regions like Beaujolais. But perhaps even more exciting is how crazy affordable these wines are for their quality. 

Domaine de la Grosse Pierre, Chiroubles "Claudius", 2018 $24.99
 Racy red fruits with floral flourishes and assertive minerality. Linear and pithy at the core.

Domaine de la Grosse Pierre, Morgon "Douby", 2018 $24.99
Classic bouquet of  liquorice/lavender/spice. Slightly richer than the others, but nonetheless charming and bright in style.

Domaine de la Grosse Pierre, Fleurie "Bel-Air", 2018 $24.99
Acid-driven, high-resolution florality and strawberry fruit. Simpler in structure but instantly gratifying and very pretty.