Bequeathing its name from Amor, a Roman Legionnaire who took refuge in the area after refusing to fight the Christians, and long since associated with love and romance, Saint-Amour, with its mixture of granite, schist and clay produces both soft, floral, fruit driven wines and more powerful complex wines that can be aged for up to 5 years. For the Bataillard family, owners of Château de Belleverne, the acquisition of Saint-Amour vineyards sealed their presence in each of the four most northerly Beaujolais Cru; they also own plots in Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, and Juliénas as well as the northern reaches of Beaujolais Villages, making 36ha in all. Their south-east facing Saint-Amour plots are made up of schist and shale and slope gently down from statue of La Madone in the village itself. As with all Belleverne’s Cru vineyards, vines are at least 50 years of age, with yields below the appellation maximum, and are managed following ‘High Environmental Value’ (HVE) principles; a certification Belleverne gained in 2018 to ‘a guarantee that the pressure applied to the environment by farming practices (on air, water, soil, climate, biodiversity and landscape) is kept to a minimum.’ Hand-harvested grapes are immediately cooled as they arrive at the cellar, following significant investment in cooling equipment. Winemakers (and brothers) Didier and Alain increasingly de-stem the majority of the harvest to gain complexity without hard tannins. They prefer a semi-carbonic maceration, having mastered the technique of cooling the grapes in each of their concrete tanks to slow the process down. A slower fermentation, of between 10 and 13 days for each separately vinified parcel, together with twice daily remontage to fully submerge the cap and optimise the extraction of fruit and flavours, achieves a greater expression of fruit character in the final wine. This Saint-Amour is exclusive to Boutinot; having worked with Samantha Bailey since 2014 the Bataillard’s now allow her crucial ‘first access’ to their cellar allowing her to taste each and every cuvée before anyone else. Samantha is undeniably passionate when selecting blends but when it comes to Saint-Amour – the village where she was married – the final choice of the three cuves for ‘Le Cru des Amoureux’ which will achieve the perfect balance between exuberant fruit and underlying structure and definition, is a very personal endeavour.
A wine that offers delicious wild strawberry fruit aromas, with berry flavours backed by a touch of savoury liquorice and notes of white pepper that provide complexity and a silky lasting finish.
Delicious served lightly chilled with paté or chicken roasted with herbs, garlic and butter. Perfect with soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert.
The Wine Merchant Top 100 2019
Sommelier Wine Awards 2017