The vineyard that Maxime works with here is home to some very old vines, ranging from 70 years old up to nearly 100. The incredible concentration of fruit, and resulting refined palate no doubt owes a debt to this marvellous old vineyard.Even though the grapes for this wine, come from the same vineyard as 'Ext' hase', the final product could not be more different. This is the other side of the coin if you will. Rather than being light and fragrant, this is a much deeper and more structured expression of Gamay and it's just as delicious.
The nose smells like summer pudding, but has a deep, inky quality about it that follows through on the palate. Crunchy red fruits, a little sour cherry and an incredible concentration of flavour. This is serious Beaujolais!
The story of 'Jean Max' is an intriguing tale. Originally from a small Beaujolais village, Maxime Barrot set his sights on winemaking from a young age. After five years of studying in Burgundy, he decided against returning home. Instead, Maxime took off to travel the world and eventually settled in Chile.
It was here, of all places, that he became captivated with the natural approach of Beaujolais' 'Gang of Four' (a group of four winemakers who pioneered natural winemaking in the region). One of the Gangs disciples (Antoinue Luyt, who worked for Marcel Lapierre) was now making wine in Chile, and it was with his own protégé, Roberto Henriquez, that Maxime hung his hat;
'It was therefore in Chile, that I was able to learn this unique know-how, based on rigour and emotion. Everything clicked, and I decided to take the plunge.'
The plunge took Maxime home from Chile. Back to Beaujolais to work with Yvon Metras (are there any legendary natural winemakers that Maxime hasn't worked with?) and slowly, but surely, start his own project. The 2019 vintage has really put 'Jean Max' on the map; producing a tiny production of extremely thoughtful, high-quality wines. These are labelled as 'Vin de France' as Maxime made them in the cellars of good friend Eric Texier, in the nearby Rhone.