The road that took us to Dominique Piron was a long one. We love Beaujolais but it hadn’t been easy to unearth a producer that brought together all the pieces of the jigsaw: Good roots, devotion to fruit, transparency of terroir and titillating interplay of flesh, tannin, acidity and minerality.
Then we found Dominique Piron, which traces its roots back to 1590 and which made a spectacular debut in the CellarHand portfolio with its 2013 wines. The wines have been on an excellent trajectory, with 2015 through to 2019 throwing up strikingly consistent quality that belie varying harvest conditions.
Dominique and his long-term business partner Julien Revillon put heaps of work into sharpening the precision of the wines, and it paid off. 2020 itself was momentous in that Dominique – lacking a family heir – handed the reins onto his Beaujolais born-and-bred protégé Julien. The latter couldn’t be more excited about the future, and nor could we.
It starts now, with the Aussie 2019 range rounded out with the pulpy, jolly Brouilly and top-cuvée Morgon Côte du Py joining the Fleurie and essential staple that is the Beaujolais-Villages.
2019 Dominique Piron Beaujolais-Villages RRP $27
The vines for Piron’s Beaujolais-Villages surround the crus on the hills of the northern half of Beaujolais. They mostly have an east-facing exposition and have sandy granitic soils comprising small stones that store the sun’s heat and then release it gently during the night. This helps conserve the natural freshness of the fruit. These vines at 50 years old on average.
100% Gamay grapes are harvested by hand, selected on a sorting table, and given a very gentle destemming (80% of the bunches) before fermentation takes place in cement and stainless steel. The fermentation never lasts longer than 8-10 days in order to preserve freshness. When the cuvées are chosen for the final blend, wines with juicy fruit, complexity and fine structure go to the Beaujolais-Villages as opposed to the simpler straight Beaujolais.
Ripe cherry and raspberry, spice, a sort of pressed rose perfume. Medium-bodied, quite deep in flavour with a pleasing roundness, a bit of grainy tannin, meat and dried herb, and a good finish. It’s just a really good drink, and very accessible. 91 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front September 2020
2019 Dominique Piron Brouilly RRP $38
Brouilly is the largest and furthest south of the Beaujolais crus. It has a good south eastern exposure, at the bottom of the Saône Valley at an altitude of 200 to 300 metres. The subsoil consists of granite debris and blue-tinged schist.
2019 Dominique Piron Fleurie RRP $43
The cru is situated in the north of Beaujolais. The pink granite of the soils of steep Fleurie vineyards are more acid and produce lighter, more delicate wines than, say, Morgon, and can be some of the most charming of all Beaujolais. This wine from 50-year-old vines is perhaps a bit more mineral than the supple Brouilly, a slightly more ‘serious’ affair.
Fresh ripe raspberry, dried rose and spice, something a bit stony about it too, I’d suggest. Medium-bodied at most, light grip from fine powdery tannin, fresh and juicy feel, pretty and a little bit serious at once. Finish is bright and succulent. A wine very at ease with itself, and wonderful to drink. 94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front October 2020
2019 Dominique Piron Morgon Côte du Py RRP $47
Standing on the top of the blue schist terroir that is Morgon Côte du Py on a wonderfully sunny but utterly freezing morning is something that will live long in the memory. Côte du Py has upwards of 100 growers sharing it, Piron being well placed with 7ha, all planted at 10,000 vines per ha.