By nature, most Gamay-based wines from the Beaujolais are opened within a year of release, but the wines of the Coudert family are best known for their unrivaled complexity and track record for aging.
One year, at La Paulée's verticals tasting, 31 tables were filled with the best of Burgundy (Roumier, Lafon, Rousseau, Mugneret-Gibourg, D'Angerville) and one sole Cru Beaujolais (Roilette). Set alongside Burgundy's most elite producers, the tasting was a great reminder that the best of Cru Beaujolais greatly rewards the patient.
The story of Roilette's evolution is a fascinating one. The vineyards were historically classified as Moulin-à-Vent, and its owners are proud of that designation. But in the 1920s, districts were re-drawn, and the Fleurie appellation was created. This newfound appellation, which was required to appear on the label, enraged the owner of the Clos de Roilette. Instead of printing Fleurie, he used a photo of his racehorse and refused to sell his wines in France, exporting 100% of his production to neighboring countries.
In 1967, ownership changed hands, and this largely untended vineyard went into the thoughtful stewardship of Fernand Coudert. Today, the wines are widely regarded as the benchmark of not only Fleurie but the entire Beaujolais region.
The border of Moulin-à-Vent and Fleurie, where the estate sits, is home to clay-dominant vineyards. Whereas most of Beaujolais is on granite, the clay and manganese soils of Roilette give a darker and richer expression of Gamay. Blue and black fruits are abundant in all of the estate's wines.
Roilette's Fleurie bottling comes from a parcel of 30-to-45-year-old vines and undergoes the same whole cluster, semi-carbonic fermentation regimen as the estate's Cuvée Tardive and Griffe du Marquis. Stylistically, the Fleurie is open-knit and has a more supple tannin structure, still with the stuffing to age gracefully and develop over the next few years.