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Domaine Coudert Fleurie Clos De La Roilette Griffe Du Marquis 2017/20

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Domaine Coudert Fleurie Clos De La Roilette Griffe Du Marquis is unusual for its appellation as it is matured for around 12 months in oak Burgundy barrels of two to six years of age. Deep aromas of meaty blackberry and strawberry confiture, violets and mint. The intense palate of berry liqueur, plum, stone and earth has fabulous length and firm, even slightly bitter, acidity. Earthy, dark fruit coats the palate on the ripe but balanced finish. Fleurie may been regarded as a light, early drinking wine, but this bruiser has at least 10 years of life left in it.

  • Country: France
  • Region: Beaujolais
  • Subregion: Fleurie
  • Vintage: 2017/20
  • Colour: Red
  • Grape Variety: Gamay
  • ABV: 13%
  • Bottle Size: 75cl
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • Style: Atypical Beaujolais
  • Drink With: Good, hearty casseroles.

The source of Domaine Coudert Fleurie Clos De La Roilette Griffe Du Marquis is two parcels of eighty-year-old vines, growing in clay and granite soils that borders on Moulin-à-Vent. Only 12 barrels, or about 3,000 bottles, of this Fleurie are produced and 2009 was the very first vintage.

This wine is aged in barrel, and it's a very interesting expression of Gamay. The wood is not present to mask the wine, but rather to accompany it, to complement its tannins and create complexity. It's really tight for the first two years, but it opens up beautifully when you give it some time.

The name Marquis comes from a nickname given to Alain Coudert's parents' in their village. A good family friend would stop by every day to drink a glass of wine with Alain's father. This friend would see his mother on the balcony and salute her and then tell people he'd seen the "Marquise" when he returned to the village. The name stuck!

Why we like this wine

As well as the fine, silky mouthfeel and delicious red fruit flavours, the wine has some spicy notes and faint hints of liquorice that add an extra dimension to the wine. This year (2019) we visited Alain in early March and he very kindly took us for lunch to the Auberge du Cep in the middle of the village. He took a bottle of the 2009 with him, the very first vintage. As we settled at the table, Alain was saluted by several other growers and his Bank Manager. When they saw what we were drinking, an orderly queue formed next to him of people with empty glasses begging for a small sample! The wine was superb, developed but without doubt still youthful, generous and long-lasting on the palate. Stunning. Don't miss out on this, our allocation is tiny.

About the grower

The Clos De La Roilette, in the village of Fleurie, covers nine hectares of one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. The clos has an eastern exposure, it borders the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, and it produces wines that are beautiful when young and that have the capacity to age for a further 5-10 years in good vintages.

In the 1920s, when the Fleurie appellation was first created, the former landowner was infuriated at the loss of the Moulin-à-Vent appellation under which the Clos De La Roilette had previously been classified. In a fit of pique, he created a label using a photograph of his racehorse, Roilette, and he used the name Clos De La Roilette without a mention of Fleurie. The owner also vowed not to sell another drop of his wine on the French market and his entire production went to Switzerland, Germany and England.

By the mid-1960s, the owner’s heirs had lost interest in the estate and a large portion of the land had grown wild and untended. In 1967, Fernand Coudert bought the poorly maintained estate and replanted the vineyards. His son Alain joined him in 1984, and he has been the winemaker ever since. The Couderts say that their particular terroir (mainly clay and manganese-rich soils), and the age of their vines (25 to 33 years-old) account for the richness of their wine. When we were first introduced to Alain Coudert we knew immediately that this was a winemaker we could do business with. There are no new oak barrels here. In fact, the wine making is very traditional and ideally suited to the terroir in this area of Fleurie.

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