Expect to hear a lot of bitching and moaning about Beaujolais in 2015. Alcohol levels are abnormally high for the region, in some cases turning what ought to be elegant, light-spirited wines into the Incredible Hulk. I tasted some primeurs this year that could overturn tractor-trailers.
More recently I've tasted tank samples from various cru producers that were more encouraging: the best wines manage to integrate the heat of the vintage into a kinetic, powerful whole. Furthermore, the unusual ripeness of the vintage wasn't bad news for everyone.
In the backwoods Beaujolais-Villages hamlet of Marchampt, young natural winemaker Nicolas Chemarin stands to benefit. Marchampt lies southwest of Régnié at the foot of the Beaujolais vert, the mountains bordering the region's west, which serve not for viticulture, but rather for hunting and goat cheese production. Marchampt is at high elevation in the shadow of a mountain range, highly exposed to the north wind, meaning it's always about 3°C cooler than Morgon or Fleurie. So a little extra ripeness shows nicely on the wines from Chemarin's Beaujolais-Villages parcels. From the highest, a 600m altitude old-vine parcel called "Le Rocher," Chemarin has since 2012 quietly been producing a minor classic of the region.