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WINE OF THE WEEK: Domaine Vavril Côte de Brouilly Cuvée de l'Héronde 2022, France

£16.15/£14.35, Haynes Hanson & Clark

My encounter with Domaine Vavril’s Gamay Noir Beaujolais Villages last autumn was love at first taste, so much so that, in addition to putting it in my Festive Red Wine Guide, I asked to taste the domaine's Côte de Brouilly.

And yes, love at first taste again, although a different taste.

I could almost fall for Cuvée de l’Héronde’s glistening purple-ruby colour alone, but it’s the violet, strawberry and spice aromas, the sappy freshness and succulent palate of dark hedgerow berries and cherries, graphite and wet-rocks minerality, silky tannins and final pin-prick of orange zest that really do it.

As befits it’s Cru status, it’s a more serious, structured wine than the Beaujolais Villages, but it still has the floral, sweet-fruited charm to make it enjoyable now, although you could drink it through to the end of 2028, if cellared well.

It can partner quite ‘meaty’ food, such as rare tuna steak, duck, lamb or cured sausages, and also goes well with most vegetables and with cheese and vegetable dishes. A roast chicken or a plate of charcuterie would do fine, too. 13%. Empty bottle weight: 557g.

A word about the domaine. It dates back to the Middle Ages and today, there are just over 10ha of vines, mostly Gamay, lying on steep hillsides  above the town of Beaujeu on the sunny southern side of Mont Brouilly.

There's a handsome house dating from the 18th century, which was occupied by a Russian baroness in the mid-19th century, apparently, but which fell on hard times later. By the time Richard Brague bought the estate in 2004, the house had been lying abandoned for 15 years. He has completely restored and renovated it. He also appointed Beaujeu-born and bred winemaker, Jean-Luc Ducruix, who instituted domaine bottling.

Domaine de Vavril Côte de Brouilly Cuvée de l’Héronde 2022, Beaujolais, France

£16.15, or £14.35 by the dozen, Haynes Hanson & Clark


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