Inheriting your parents vineyard must be a thrill, an honour and probably very scarey proposition. Like any family business, you don’t want to the generation that screwed it up. You don’t want mom or dad to have to come out of retirement to rescue you, and you don’t want to insult them by altering what they spent their lives building. Louis-Benoit and his sister Claude-Emmanuelle Desvignes were handed down the Louis-Claude Desvignes vineyard and almost immediately introduced a new wine to send a clear message about who they are to anybody listening. Les Impénitents means the unrepentant. They are going to be making wine their way, and to hell with anybody who stands in their way. Before you put that kind of message on the label and share it with the people whose blood, sweat and tears made it all possible, you had better be confident in the quality of your product. This Gamay Noir will raise eyebrows from traditionalists, as it ratchets up taste components usually complementary to the floral/fruit stereo channel Bojo wines typically offer. And they have priced it at a point that is considerably higher than many Beaujolais options. Let’s taste:
On the Nose: Nothing shocking here, the olfactory profile is quite mild on the floral side with some mint. That mint is a hint of what is coming…
The Gulp: Wonderful strong fruit and flower on the break-out, next wave cassis moves to eucalyptus then menthol shows up. Small black pepper on the end, light tannins as well.
So Louis-Benoit and Claude-Emmanuelle’s Les Impénitents has promoted some taste characteristics from side-show to part of the main event, which will get some traditionalists concerned and judgemental. I like that they call this wine unrepentant, because it creates the expectation of breaking the mold. Much like a sticker on a CD warning of profanity, it is one part warning label and one part advertisement. I liked the wine quite a bit – not for an everyday sipping wine, but as an interesting wine to enjoy with just the right meal.
Musical Match: One part optimism and one part defiance is the recipe for Tom Petty’s Running Down a Dream. Catchy, deep and strong with a dreamy sound. The Louis-Claude Desvignes Les Impénitents has that intensity of flavour and the mint and eucalyptus notes deliver the dreamier side. I don’t think that Les Impénitents needs to set a trend to be judged a success, it just has to be itself. Good stuff.
Special thanks to Inter Beaujolais for providing all transportation, hotels, meals and access to the wonderful wine and winemakers of the Beaujolais wine region of France during a four day tour. The wine discussed in this blog entry was tasted during that promotional tour.