Maison Passot, Cru Beaujolais, Régnié

Beaujolais, France 2016

Character
Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol
Sometimes, our writeups need not be elaborate when the underlying theme is so simple: We sift through countless Cru Beaujolais wines at or around this price, and very few deliver this much real character for the money. It’s those very few that we offer—simple, right?

Today’s exceptional Régnié offers what so many others fail to achieve, and it comes from a name many haven’t yet come across: Maison Passot. This family-run estate is helmed by the ebullient Rémy Passot and there is a clear transfer of that vibrant energy in his wine: packed with abundant fruit and rocky minerality, it’s a Cru Beaujolais just begging for good foods and a bright summer day. The supple fruit and earthy nuances perfectly accentuate its structure—which, here, bears a resemblance to wines from neighboring Morgon—and with a price tag this low, buyer’s remorse is nowhere to be found. This is a delightful wine and I can’t imagine a smarter “bang for your buck” purchase. Stock this up to your ceiling!

Rémy Passot, a fifth-generation vigneron, began making his own wines in 1989 and hasn’t stopped since—he also manages Château de Raousset in Chiroubles. Rémy, his wife, Dominique (who was adamant about not marrying a winemaker!), and his three children consider themselves a mixture of things: grape growers, winemakers, merchants (they started buying a small portion of grapes in 2015) and innovators. They now cultivate roughly 25 acres throughout four of Beaujolais’ ten Crus and they love experimenting with new projects. For instance, they planted a micro parcel of Viognier in 2010 and its immediate success enabled them to continue expanding.

Passot owns 21 distinct plots throughout the Crus of Chiroubles, Morgon, Fleurie, and Régnié. This bottle is sourced from the family’s vines within Régnié—which enjoy prime southeastern exposure and average 40 years of age. Here, where Régnié gives way to Brouilly, soils are a mixture of granite, sand, and clay. The family has been practicing sustainable viticulture for well over a decade now, making sure to intervene in only the most dire scenarios. In 2016, hail wiped out 85% of their crop, but thanks to their newly established négociant business, they were able to purchase some fruit from local growers that had identical farming philosophies. After harvesting a small yield by hand, grapes were shuttled to "Les Rampaux"—a place name for their winery (located in Chiroubles).  Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and the resulting wine aged seven months in both stainless steel and concrete vessels. Following local tradition, the wine was bottled in April/May. 

In the glass, the Passot’s Régnié presents a deep, surprisingly opaque dark ruby core that moves out to a fuschia and light ruby hues on the rim. Violets, lilacs, and an assortment of red flowers initially grace the nose and, upon further study, crushed-rock minerality and a host of other inviting aromas: cherry blossoms, redcurrant, black raspberry, cranberry, cracked pepper, damp earth, freshly cut stems, and a delicate mix of dried herbs. The palate is soft, pleasing, and slowly builds with intensity. Not too heavy, nor too light, it balances perfectly extracted fruit with smooth-shouldered tannins and mineral drive. This is a screaming value that is ready to be enjoyed the moment it arrives at your doorstep, though it will keep over the next five years. Simply decant 30 minutes and serve around cellar temperature (55-60 degrees) in Burgundy stems. Pair alongside sundry cold cuts out on the porch or whip up a quick bacon-avocado pasta dish. Cheers!
Print Tasting Notes
Country
France
Region
Burgundy — Beaujolais
Sub-Region
Cru Beaujolais — Régnié
Variety
Gamay 100%
Alcohol
~13%
Oak
Concrete Vats
Soil
Granite & Clay
Farming
Lutte Raisonnée
Service Temperature
55-60ºF
Glassware
Burgundy Stem
Drinking Window
Now-2020
Decanting
15 Minutes