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Clos de la Roilette Fleurie 2016

  • RP93
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The 2016 Fleurie is more expressive than its youthful 2017 sibling, offering up a complex bouquet of sweet cherries, dark chocolate, raspberry preserve and wood smoke. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a supple, giving, even open-knit profile by Coudert's standards. Another couple of years will still be to its advantage, however.

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Clos de la Roilette

Clos de la Roilette

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Clos de la Roilette, France
In the 1920s, when the Fleurie appellation was first created, the former landowner was infuriated with losing the Moulin-à-Vent appellation under which he had previously been classified. He created a label, using a photograph of his horse Roilette, and used the name Clos de la Roilette, without mentioning Fleurie. The current label does mention the name of the appellation, but only as a subscript.

Coudert's Fleurie, often better known as "that delicious wine with the Horse on the label", comes from the Clos de la Roilette, in the village of Fleurie The vineyard has an eastern exposure that borders the Moulin-à-Vent and is situated on one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. Father-son winemaking team, Fernand and Alain Coudert, say their particular terroir (mainly clay and manganese), and the age of their vines (25 to 33 years-old) account for the richness of their Fleurie.

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The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.

Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.

Four styles of Beaujolais exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.

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Delightfully playful, yet at its best capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-packed wines from Beaujolais and parts of the Loire Valley. While it has received some criticism for its role in Beaujolais Nouveau—a decidedly young, charming and fruit-driven wine—the Gamay grape is very capable of producing serious wines. The variety is also widely planted in Savoie, Valle d'Aosta and Switzerland, and has recently found success on a small but growing scale in Oregon.

In the Glass

In its simplest form as Beaujolais Nouveau, a wine released just a couple of months after harvest, Gamay is fresh and full of cranberry and cherry candy flavors. But Gamay is capable of much more. The region of Beaujolais is divided into Villages and Crus, where granite-rich soils and conditions are perfect for Gamay. The Villages and Crus wines, given more time on the vine and in the winery, are capable of improving with age and offer dark blackberry or ripe cherry flavors with enticing aromas of baking spice, violets and dark wet earth.

Perfect Pairings

Gamay is delicious on its own; the simpler bottling can even benefit from a light chill before serving. It is the quintessential picnic red and goes well with simple charcuterie, country pâté and terrines. Gentle tannins and bright acidity make it a great option with Asian food, even dishes with a bit of spice. Gamay is also great with poultry, especially duck or Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce.

Sommelier Secret

Within Beaujolais, there are ten different Crus, or highly ranked grape-growing communes. Each one has its own distinct personality—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant and Morgon is serious, structured, and age-worthy, capable of rivaling some red Burgundies.

PRG000522_16_2016 Item# 449468

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