A View from the Cellar 93+
"Domaine des Billards is one of my absolute favorite wines in all of Beaujolais, as it ages impeccably well and is always as good as the growing conditions of the particular season will allow. The 2014 is not yet released here in the states, but a sample was air-freighted in right before this article was completed, so that it could be included in this feature.
The bouquet is still very primary in profile, but very deep and pure at the same time, and it is quite clear that the 2014 will vie with the 2011 for the greatest wine produced at Domaine des Billards since the surreal 2005. The youthful nose is a fine blend of red and black cherries, pomegranate, nutskin, dark soil tones, a bit of bitter chocolate, fresh thyme and violets in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and adolescent, with a potentially sappy core nicely wrapped in structural elements, modest tannins, fine acidity and great length and grip on the still very primary finish.
This wine routinely gets more red fruity as it ages, and when it starts out this black fruity I always take that as a very, very good sign for its ultimate evolution in the bottle. This is a beautiful wine in the making." ~ JG
BarbetView all from Barbet
"It is clearly one of the very finest Cru Beaujolais producers in the firmament of the region today and an estate that I plan to be drinking with great regularity from this point forward... These are clearly some of the most pure, expressive and refined examples of Cru Beaujolais to be found in the region, and the domaine clearly deserves to be more widely known amongst the Beaujolais cognoscenti." - John Gilman, View from the Cellar #28.
This is seriously old-school winemaking: after hand-harvesting, the grapes undergo semi-carbonic maceration in vats using only indigenous yeasts. The wines are then aged half in cement tanks and half in large old wooden foudres with a light fining before bottling. Although delicious when young, the wines are incredibly age-worthy. A recent tasting of wines ranging back into the mid-1970's showed great intensity and complexity without any sign of fatigue.
The Beaujolais region is finally getting the recognition it deserves and the Barbets are a perfect example of why; these are impressive wines with surprising complexity and elegance. They would not be out of place in any collector's cellar nor on the table with your next meal. Luckily, good Beaujolais is still one of the great values in French wine.