Beaujolais’ Gamay is a grape that tends to evoke eye rolls from many of the highbrow wine crowd. For historical reference, in 14th century Burgundy, the two Houses of Valois dukes pushed the grape out of the area for being, and I quote, “a very bad and disloyal grape.” Over the last few decades, it was condoned to being a wine with banal fruit: raspberry, tart cherries, and a little bit of banana. Simply said, fruity wine for non-wine drinkers. But Beaujolais is back, baby, and Leading the charge, the Vin Noe label made by a fellow named Jon Purcell.
Jon Purcell, a California dude (surfer long hair and everything), now making natural wines in Burgundy. That may paint a picture of laissez-faire style winemaking, but Purcell spent years working with famed Burgundy producer Philippe Pacalet, and now works at a 100-year-old cuverie in Auxey-Duresses. Think classically trained, but now producing some of the most thoughtfully, interesting Beaujolais wines out there.
A particularly great bottle coming out of the Vin Noe label is the Amour Vache. A gentle, delicate iteration of Gamay, it’s balanced, pleasantly sour, with tannins that flirt into the body of the wine. Light, smooth, with delicate licorice spice.
As a sommelier, I could probably sell this wine on label alone—it features a dark, beating heart on a stark white background. No other detailing other than a hand-done wax seal and an air of mystery.