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translation missing: en.ACellars Newsletter, 8th April, 2021: ACellars Newsletter, 8th April, 2021

YANN BERTRAND
"With young vignerons like Alex Foillard, Justin Dutraive, Keke Descombes and Yann Bertrand, the future of Beaujolais is in very good hands..." Felix G

One of the youngest vignerons in Beaujolais, is the also one of the most exciting.

Yann grew up on his family's vineyards in Fleurie. But he never intended to be a winemaker. himself. In fact, after a brief flirtation with Commerce at the local university, Yann travelled through the Alps, working in caves and wine bars. Perhaps being the son of a winemaker opened a few doors for Yann, but after being surrounded by wine geeks, eager to hear of his experiences growing up on a vineyard, he caught the bug. Eventually deciding that winemaking could be a noble pursuit, he returned to Beaujolais and apprenticed himself to some of the greats - Jean Foillard, Yvon Metras, and Jacques Neauport (the right-hand-man to Jules Chauvet).

You couldn't ask for better mentorship, and under their teachings and guidance, Yann has flourished. The Bertrand family's holdings consist of 7.5 hectares along the Grand Pré - an area that straddles Fleurie and Morgon. Most of their vineyards sit on the Fleurie side, with vine age ranging from 30 years to over 100 years of age.

Yann took over in 2013, continuing his father's organic practices, whilst experimenting with his own Biodynamic ideas. He is currently in the process of converting the entire holding to Biodynamics - something he hopes to achieve in a few years. Oh, and he's only just turned thirty.

All of the fruit is manually harvested and sorted, then placed as whole bunches into large concrete vats for the traditional carbonic maceration. Once pressed, nothing is added to the wines. Like his mentors, Yann takes a natural approach to his winemaking. Everything is racked via gravity into old barrels and demi-muids for maturation of 6-10 months, depending on the cuvee. In the Spring, the wines are bottled according to the lunar calendar, and all wines are unfined and unfiltered. Only a tiny amount of sulphur is used (less than 15ppm, if at all) to stabilise the wines come bottling.

Les Bertrand Beaujolais Oh Rouge 2019 - $62 single bottle / $52.70 in any six
15 days maceration, rested in tank for 7 months prior to bottling. Snappy crunchy cranberries, expressive and fresh, OH its good! An underlying tartness interspersed with toffee apple and raspberries, slurpy and energetic with great acidity and length. Vin de soif.

Les Bertrand Julienas 100% Rouge 2019- $71 single bottle / $60.35 in any six
14 to 18 days maceration, elevage for 8 months in 225 litre barrels of 7 years plus age. In 2016, when hail destroyed 90% of his crop, Yann sought a grower in Julienas to provide some organic fruit, allowing him the ability to produce wine from this challenging harvest. It was a hit, and Yann's relationship with the grower has strengthened over the years, to the point that Yann produces a Julienas each vintage. The 2019 is the best Julienas from Yann yet, perfumed and expressive of violets and Portello with a flinty edge. A wine of structure and balance, it dips between prettiness and fruit to tannins, all backed by a level of freshness that keeps you going back for more.

Les Bertrand Saint Amour Les Bambins Rouge 2019 - $71 single bottle / $60.35 in any six
Similar to 2016, where Yann was forced to look elsewhere for quality fruit, so too was 2017. This time Yann looked to Saint Amour and found a grower in this most northerly cru of Beaujolais. 17 days maceration, rested for 8 months in 225 litre barrels of 6 years plus age. Shy on the nose initially, this opened beautifully with air, soft herbs and cherries. There’s a plumpness to the fruit, with sage and marjoram, a mineral core peppered with pepper. Incredibly focused, graphite, fine grippy tannins, elegant and long.

Les Bertrand Fleurie Coup d'Folie Rouge 2019 - $75 single bottle / $63.75 in any six
10 to 17 days maceration, elevage for 7 months, 2/3 in tank, 1/3 old 225 litre barrels of 10 years plus age. Pretty and bright, dense with red fruits and florals. Strawberries and cream, raspberries and hints of blood orange, there’s a mineral core and fine lithe tannins. Its long and fresh, maintaining the prettiness and elegance all the way, incredibly composed.

Les Bertrand Morgon Dynamite Rouge 2019 - $84 single bottle / $71.40 in any six
20 to 25 days maceration, rested for 8 months in 225 and 600 litre barrels of 6 years plus age. A nose defined by blue and black fruits, the palate has minerality and acidity at its core, all incredibly balanced and in check. It's elegant Morgon with a feminine edge yet maintains its depth and structure with harmonious tannins.

Les Bertrand Fleurie Coup de Foudre Rouge 2018 - $84 single bottle / $71.40 in any six
From 50 to 70 year old vines, 17 to 20 days maceration, 8 months elevage in 225 litre barrels of 6 years plus age followed by an additional 11 months aging in bottle prior to release. Wild strawberries and anise, I’d encourage you to decant this to fully open the aromas. A flicker of blood orange, the fruit on the palate becomes more lifted with morello cherry. Maintaining its Fleurie elegance yet with structure and a mineral drive, highlighting this is a mere baby that would benefit the patience of cellaring. The tannins are powdery fine with salivating acidity and fruit bouncing along the spine.

See Les Bertrand wines here.
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FRESH DROPS
This week in Fresh Drops we've got two wines from a brand new producer, a new wine from an established producer, and a new vintage from a favourite producer!

First off, we're excited to showcase two wines from a brand new producer for us: Bande Apart. The brainchild of Jess DiGiorgio and Jamie Sainte, Bande Apart is about treading a different path - banding together, but apart from the crowds, so to speak. The pair met while doing vintage together in Burgundy and Beaujolais, and decided to start making the sort of wines they wanted to drink - lightly handled, wild ferments and showing a clear expression of place and grape.

To that end they source fruit from the Adelaide Hills and the King Valley, focusing on Burgundian and Beaujolais varieties: Chardonnay, Aligote, Pinot Meunier and Gamay. Currently they only make 2-4 barrels of each cuvee, so stocks are pretty limited!

Bande Apart King Valley Gamay 2019 - $39 single / $33.15 in any six
Cherry flesh with herbal, stalky notes, five spice and subtle mushroom earthiness. The palate is bright and vibrant, with plenty of red fruits, gamey notes, finishing fresh and juicy. - Nick F

Bande Apart Adelaide Hills Pinot Meunier 2019 - $39 single / $33.15 in any six
Lifted red berry fruits alongside dried herbs, savoury complexity and subtle spice. It has a carbonic, jubey character, balanced by a gamey feel, and very light, subtle tannins. It’s svelte and elegant, shapely and fine. And very, very drinkable. - Felix G

Next up is our friend Ricky Evans from Two Tonne in Tasmania. We've been big supporters of his over the years, and many of you will be very familiar with his wines. But for the 2020 release, Ricky has produced a brand new Pinot Noir that sits alongside his TMV and EST wines: the STH.

As the name might suggest, it's made up from fruit sourced from the South of Tassie - specifically the Coal and Derwent Valleys. It sits alongside the Tamar Valley (TMV) and the East Coast (EST) wines beautifully, completing the triumverate of Tassie Pinots from Two Tonne.

Two Tonne TMV Tamar Valley Pinot Noir 2020 - $37 single / $31.45 in any six
Always the prettiest of Ricky's Pinots, the TMV is full of lifted red fruits, floral notes, light cherry, dusty spice and subtle gaminess underneath. On the palate, it's vibrant, textural and elegant. Fine-boned tannins carry the wine through to its finessed finish. - Felix G

Two Tonne EST East Coast Pinot Noir 2020 - $37 single / $31.45 in any six
A more savoury expression than the TMV, with just a hint of whole bunch herbaceousness amongst the red fruits and spice. It's got lovely weight with primary fruit up front, leading to more mushroom, forest floor earthiness through the mid palate and finish. Brilliant. - Felix G

Two Tonne STH South Pinot Noir 2020 - $37 single / $31.45 in any six
From two sites in the Coal River and Derwent River Valleys, the STH is much more spicy and bunchy than its stablemates. Perfumed, yet with a stalky savouriness that combines with red fruit and earth. That palate is definitely in the savoury spectrum - cured meats, earth, leaf litter, but with crunchy and bright red fruits over the top. Beautiful length and shape to this. - Felix G

Finally, we've got the new vintage of Brave New Wine's Magical Animal Chardonnay. This was an absolute standout and best-seller last vintage, so we're stoked to have it back in stock.

Brave New Wine Magical Animal Chardonnay 2020 - $42 single / $35.70 in any six
This is one for the big, bold Chardonnay lovers. It's from a single vineyard in Porongurup, pressed straight to French puncheons for fermentation, then left on full solids until bottling (11 months). Buttery, creamy, laced with oak and stonefruits, and balanced by a zippy acidity. It's a very magical animal. - Pete L

Get the Fresh Drops here.
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From The Cellar this week:
Laurent Tribut

Tribut is a name now synonymous with exceptional quality Chablis, but it's interesting that Laurent himself didn't have a history of winemaking in his family. That is, until he met Marie-Clotilde Dauvissat. Laurent joined the Dauvissat family tradition of winemaking and worked for over a decade alongside René (now his father-in-law), learning the art of producing the finest quality Chablis. In fact, for his early vintages, Laurent's wines were made in the Dauvissat cellars in the same manner and spirit as the now legendary Dauvissat wines.

Today, Laurent produces his exceptional cuvees from his own cellar in Poinchy. But he has carried with him the traditional Dauvissat styles of hand-harvesting and fermentation. Tribut's wines are immediately appealing, crisp and lively
with lovely fruit, lemony aromas, spicy apple flavors, good balance, and a silky finish. His AOC Chablis is a point of reference for the appellation, while his premier cru wines show Chardonnay with all its complexity and toasty, citrusy flavours in harmony. The wines are characterized by the their balance and minerality, with the premier crus requiring 4-5 years of bottle ageing to show at their best.
Get the Tribut wines here.
Champagne Agrapart
In the heart of the Côte des Blancs, in the village of Avize, Pascal Agrapart carefully tends his vines in one of the 70 (!) micro plots that he grows. His 10 or so hectares of vines are scattered mostly throughout Avize, but with small holdings in Cramant, Oiry and Oger as well - all classified Grand Cru.

Pascal is a proud grower-producer, relying on his own natural viticulture and grapes, rather than buying in fruit from elsewhere. In this way he controls every step of the process, choosing to farm organically with no pesticides or herbicides used, and the rows ploughed by horse. The grapes are, of course, all harvested by hand. His vines are some of the oldest in the Côte des Blancs with the majority over 40 years of age and naturally low-yielding.

Originally established in 1894 by Pascal's grandfather, the estate was managed by Pascal's father from the 1950s, until 1984 when Pascal himself took over. The wines have never been better, and Agrapart was recently awarded the coveted Trois Etoiles (three stars) by La Revue du Vin de France. To put this in perspective, there are only 9 Champagne houses that hold this honour, and Pascal is among the esteemed company of houses such as Selosse, Krug, and Egly-Ouriet.

The wines of Agrapart are typified by an intensity and precision that sets them apart from some of the houses making richer, fuller styles. Pascal picks earlier, uses larger, older wood and bottles earlier, resulting in wines that are less influenced by oxygen. In the winery, Pascal vinifies using natural yeasts, emphasising the truest expression of his terroir. Dosage, which is done with a traditional liqueur d'expédition of cane sugar, varies from wine to wine, although it is usually around 3 or 4 g/L, showcasing the exceptional precision and linear focus of his Champagnes.

If you want to experience what the Grower Champagne movement is all about, let Champagne Agrapart be your guide.

See the wines here.