This week I will be delving into the world of Beaujolais and the Land of Fleurie. One of the 10 Crus of Beaujolais.
Fleurie has always been my favorite Cru Beaujolais. Such a cool word too. Fleurie. Fleuuurie. See?
Outside of Morgon, Fleurie appears to have the greatest concentration of good producers throughout the 10 Crus of Beaujolais. And with particularly fine terroir, Fleurie is a great source of Cru Beaujolais. “Fleur,” of course, means “flower” in French, and indeed the wines of Fleurie are characterized by a distinct floral note – think violets.
The many excellent producers include Sunier, Dutraive, Domaine de Vissoux (Chermette), and Clos de la Roilette (Coudert). One of my very favorite producers is Chignard, who works exclusively in a plot of Fleurie that abuts Moulin-a-Vent, and the result is a very distinct, very mineral wine that drinks well young but also ages beautifully.
The winemaker, Yan Bertrand, is achieving quite a clut following and is every bit a Rockstar in the wine world. (I mean just check out the hair!)
Growing up in Fleurie, Yann Bertrand never thought he would become a winemaker. He briefly enrolled in commerce at a local university, and then travelled around the French Alps for a few years. When applying for local jobs, he noted that he was the son of a vigneron, and soon found himself working at wine bars and wine shops, surrounded by passionate wine geeks and artisan winemakers who often came to deliver wine themselves. Tasting wines in a new way, he began to ask himself some questions, and eventually decided that the metier of a winemaker would be interesting to him if he pursued it with the same passion as the role models he encountered.
Returning to the Beaujolais, Yann began to learn from the incredible circle of producers that he never knew before – including well known people like Jean Foillard and Yvon Metras, and also the behind-the-scenes guru Jacques Néauport (who was the quiet right-hand to the legendary Jules Chauvet). The entire Domaine of Famille Bertrand encompasses one 7.5 hectare vineyard which is mostly in Fleurie with a bit over the line in Morgon, and has vineyards are between 30 and 110 years old. His parents had been slowly moving in the direction of organic viticulture since they took over the family domaine in 1992, and in 2013, the entire vineyard was certified organic. Additionally, Yann took on 1.5 hectares to farm on his own using biodynamic principles and created two new cuvées d’exception made in the neo-Beaujolais style of his well-known neighbors.
On to the Wine!
Variety: 100% Gamay
Vineyard name: Grand Pré
Age: 60 years +
Size: 1.10 hectares (3 acres)
Terroir: Granitic Sand
Viniﬁcation: Cold carbonic maceration between 10-12ºC for 20-25 days. Native yeast, with no sulfur added.
Elevage: 7-9 months in 250L barrels, which are at least 10 years old, both red and white. Racked by gravity. Bottled unﬁltered by gravity following the lunar calendar.
Beautiful Red color, a bit on the darker side for Beaujolais but still nice clarity. Strawberries, cherries, and raspberry on the nose mixed with a good dose of floral & funk. On the palate this wine gushes with intense, bright, juicy red fruit and mouthwatering acidity. Straight up candy for adults. It brings a decent bit of tannic structure, while still remaining lighter to mid-weight with a long and fairly complex finish (I get a pleasant minerality). Such a delight!
What a food wine! This baby will rock with the Thankgiving or Chrismas dinner, pairing well with a wide variety of foods. This wine definitely should be decanted though. I tried it first through a coravin and liked it, but really loved it when I tasted the same bottle two weeks later. So much more fruit and non-fruit character came through.
The only bummer about this wine is the price tag. A bit high for Beaujolais, but damn it’s worth it. I could drink this every day of my life I think.
AGM The Tasting Room-Uptown Park