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Beaujolais wines, made 100% from the Gamay grape, are the quintessential fruity wines but memories of characterless, peardrop-scented Beaujolais Nouveau mean that the name “Beaujolais” often sends a shudder down the spine. But it is possible to find superb wines in the Beaujolais region especially in the higher classified wines of the crus Beaujolais - and because they are no longer particularly fashionable, the wines are often good value. Juliénas is one of the 10 crus (cru here meaning a wine producing area rather than a single vineyard) and is noted for its richness, spice and floral aromas.
Manoir de Carra has passed through five generations of the Sambardier family and is presently run by Jean-Noel Sambardier and his two sons. The domaine has expanded from the original 4 hectares to 37 hectares of vines which are between 50 and 100-years old. Traditional methods are used where possible, adapted to each individual plot to get the best out of each plot's terroir.
The vineyards are managed carefully, respecting nature and the environment. The domaine has received “High Environmental Value” (HEV) certification which aims to identify and promote environmentally-friendly practices. Manoir du Carra says "... we do not use any chemical fertilizers nor pesticides nor any synthetic products. We attach a great deal of importance to a sustainable approach. We use the most natural phytosanitary products which will take the greatest care of the environment." No sulphur is added to its wines.
This beautiful Juliénas is both superb and good value especially considering the 50 year old vines. The granite and schist soils of the Les Bottières vineyard give it structure and ageing ability. Bio-dynamic principles are applied by this family-owned business, Manoir du Carra, in the vineyard and grapes are hand-picked with careful selection to ensure quality. Like most Beaujolais wines, this one undergoes semi-carbonic maceration; in summary the grapes are not crushed but pressure from the bunches of grapes squeezes out the juices and fermentation, for 10 to 12 days in this instance, is initiated by indigenous yeast on the grape skins. This process enhances the fruity flavours and aromas. Though it is classified as oaked, this wine was matured only for 3 to 4 months in a large, used “foudre”; this large oak barrel just softens the wine and adds some texture rather than imparting oak flavours.
Rather than the vivid purple of some Beaujolais wines, this is a lovely light ruby red. Its aromas and flavours are fruity – sweet cranberry, redcurrant and raspberry – with hints of violet and smoke. The style is light and the tannins low and fine; with hints of spicy warmth the wine would be classified as medium-bodied. The redcurrant and raspberry finish is long. Though one of the richer styles of Beaujolais, this is a light fruity wine of great quality - yields are much lower than the maximum permitted for the Juliénas appellation. It's a refreshing red wine, perfect for spring and summer or for those who prefer a lighter style of red wine.
You may need to aerate this wine before drinking to open up the flavours - alternatively, slurp some air in whilst drinking to appreciate fully the fruit flavours.
This is a refreshing red, perfect for spring and summer; recommended to drink with charcuterie, paté, cheese, roast ham, roast lamb, roast chicken and turkey and with spicy Thai and Chinese dishes
Serve at the lower end of the suggested temperature range if you like your light red wines served cooler like the French
"Very nice ruby color, subtle peony, violet and cinnamon aromas. Full bodied, with a nice and fruity attack. This wine will reach its best potential after having spent a few years in the cellar."