Marie-Elodie Zighera is unlike any young winemaker I've ever met.
Her winemaking style is firmly rooted in 1911, the year her oldest vineyards were planted. As a winemaking 30-something one might expect to listen to her explain the virtues of this new method and that. But instead she reveals a story that I'll bet she's told a thousand times.
A decade ago she attended a tasting in Beaune and the conversation came around to her vines in Morgon, from a small parcel owned by her grandmother and planted before WWI. A curious listener knew the place, called "Chateau Gaillard", and also recalled drinking wines from the property half a century or more earlier--reminiscing of how youthful, expressive and beautiful they still were. Marie-Elodie was hooked on this idea.
So instead of crafting her wines in the modern school of Beaujolais--juicy, tooty-fruity, and headache-inducing, she began research that ultimately revealed to her that Gamay in Beaujolais could be handled in the same way as Pinot Noir a bit further north in Beaune.
There is nothing modern here. One can more imagine they've stepped into a winery in 1930 rather than 2016. There is an utter void of fancy winemaking tools and equipment here.
Marie-Elodie makes just two wines from small parcels in Fleurie and Morgon. I would put these two wines on par with the best wines I've had in Burgundy and perhaps among our whole portfolio. They've been resting in her cave for 3 years now, and frankly, could continue on for another 30.
Fleuire "La Dot" 2012 has an abundance of complexity. We drank the wine together over an hour and Marie-Elodie joked that it was like having 15 different bottles in one. Each return smell and taste from the glass revealed something different--wild berries, black truffles, forest floor, cherries, and on and on and on.
Morgon "Chateau Gaillard" 2012 comes from a small vineyard owned by 4 generations of Zighera women and for my money, is the crown jewel of the appellation. At first, the wine revealed a smoky, leafy aroma but after 10 minutes was singing with exotic and dried fruits, a whiff of truffle, and an intense black cherry. One of the finest examples of Cru Beaujolais to ever cross my lips.