The Return of Elisa Guerin: A sold-out favorite found in the importer's warehouse

Elisa Guerin grew up in Beaujolais and enjoyed helping her neighbors in their vineyards. They told her she should be a winemaker. Her neighbors were named Foillard.
Elisa Guerin was a new discovery for us this fall. Her wines have quickly become a favorite of staff and customers alike. We included her in a roundup of new Beaujolais arrivals back in July, and we were lucky to have her pour at the shop in November when she was in town for RAW Wine.
Though Le Verre Volé and Le Baratin were Elisa's first customers in Paris, very little of her wines has made it to New York, and we are excited to be one of only maybe three shops to have carried her wines. At the moment, we are the only one in New York.
Her wines quickly sold out last fall, but her importer just discovered one case of her Beaujolais-Villages  and two of her Moulin-a-Vent 'Les Thorins', a wine new to us (but actually one of her oldest) that really shows off her more wild side.
Elisa Guerin grew up in Beaujolais as part of a winemaking family. Elisa's father was not a famous winemaker — he sold off his fruit mostly to Georges Duboeuf — but he did keep his vines very well cared for.

Elisa left for Paris and came back in the summers to casually make some wine at home and help out some neighbors with their cellar and vineyard work. These neighbors were the legendary Foillards. After encouraging her to keep making wine, and after working for Yvon Metras, she took their advice. In 2015 she began converting their Moulin-a-Vent vineyard 'Les Thorins' to organic viticulture, and in 2018 made her first vintage. For at least a decade now she has been part of a group of winemakers' daughters that includes Laure Foillard and Ophelie Dutraive, getting together to seek out abandoned parcels in Beaujolais and make wine from them.

As for her own wines, they feel unique and original without sacrificing any of the identity of Beaujolais. Even with age, they still have plenty of youthful playfulness, a low-fidelity crunchiness that gets the point across without any extra fuss. There's an immediacy that shortens the distance between winemaker and wine drinker that, though I've never met her, makes her feel like a friend or family member making wine at home. It's avant-garde French natural wine, which is what classic producers like Foillard and Lapierre were decades ago, a reassurance that Beaujolais is still a place for passion projects and experimentation.

In Aaron Ayscough's profile of her in Not Drinking Poison In Paris she talks about the first time she made a completely natural wine and gave it to her father, saying, "The drama my father made, it was cinema! He’s open to new things. But he tends to stress out." The 2018 'Les Thorins' we are offering shows one of her earlier efforts and it won't be for everyone. Her more recent vintages have been more restrained in terms of funk, but this one is still charming to me and helps illustrate her journey as a winemaker. She has been lucky to be surrounded by a strong community and is taking their mentorship to heart while confidently making wines that are her own.


Jonathan Kemp

Image of Elisa Guerin Beaujolais-Villages 2020
Elisa Guerin Beaujolais-Villages 2020
This Beaujolais-Villages is light and fuzzy with wild raspberry, a touch of barnyard funk, and plenty of playfulness. Tart energy, sumac, and a touch of tamari on the finish. An easy one to knock back with a chill and with any lighter cuisine. JK
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Image of Elisa Guerin 'Les Thorins' Moulin-a-Vent 2018
Elisa Guerin 'Les Thorins' Moulin-a-Vent 2018
One of Elisa's first wines was from her family's parcel called 'Les Thorins' that includes some 80-90 year-old vines on sandy granite. This vintage, even with age on it, still has a youthful playfulness. Compared to her other wines, it's the most 'natty' and wild, with some feral, edgy acidity. This is mixed with darker, juicier notes, however, showing off brambly raspberry and cranberry skin texture. This wine is not about polish, it's alive, raw, and charmingly rustic. Chill it down and pass it around with your friends. JK
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