• 2018 Dutraive Off-the-Grid:  Saint-Amour, Chénas, & Fleurie

    2018 Dutraive Off-the-Grid: Saint-Amour, Chénas, & Fleurie

    2018 in Beaujolais marks a much-needed return for growers to good yields and very high quality with a dry harvest. The last couple vintages have not been kind for vignerons in each of these areas. Massive amounts of spring rain actually proved a blessing as July and August heatwaves came next, meaning reserves of accumulated ground water was more than sufficient during through this stretch. 2018 is a ripe vintage for sure, but as compared to the bombastic 2015's, the alcohol is lower, acidity higher, and freshness a big part of the finished product.

    As compared to other titans of Cru Beaujolais, Foillard and Lapierre, I find Dutraive's often lighter in color, with a more concentrated, lifted spice, and a more wild natural element that stands out from the pack due to his lower sulphur protocol. Waiting several years after release to get into top cuvées has been a big goal of mine, as the rare aged Dutraive is pure magic when fruit begins to fall more to the background and exotic spices become more prominent.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Beaujolais in Blue:  2018 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly

    Beaujolais in Blue: 2018 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly

    Thivin's Côte de Brouilly has been a staple in our Cru Beaujolais category since day one. The value at $31 per bottle is always refreshing as pricing for top producers in the region continue to climb. These 50-yr-old vines are situated in as unique a location as any in Beaujolais, here on blue volcanic soil and an unusually steep 48% grade slope. There's a blue-fruited quality to the Gamay that leads one to believe terroir can impart an extremely obvious sense of place.

    2018 is an exciting vintage for the region, with the hot summer not bringing a roasted or jammy quality as we often saw in years like 2015 and 2009. The abundant spring rains kept these soils hydrated through the stress of summer heat spikes, and in turn, the wines show fleshy, full-bodied fruit with an unmistakable acid-streak and pronounced minerality.

    Château Thivin’s roots date back to the 15th century. But, it was in 1877 when Zaccharie Geoffrey purchased the 2-hectare estate at auction that Thivin began as we know it today. His grandson, Claude was pivotal in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation during the great depression. And now his grandnephew, also Claude, his wife Evelyn, and their son Claude-Edouard are behind production of this benchmark Côte de Brouilly. Kermit Lynch visited the domaine during his first trip on the wine route with Richard Olney in 1976.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • 2018 Dutraive Fleurie:  Cuvée Champagne, Le Clos V.V. & More!

    2018 Dutraive Fleurie: Cuvée Champagne, Le Clos V.V. & More!

    2018 in Beaujolais marks a much-needed return for growers to good yields and very high quality with a dry harvest. The last couple vintages have not been kind for vignerons in each of these areas. Massive amounts of spring rain actually proved a blessing as July and August heatwaves came next, meaning reserves of accumulated ground water was more than sufficient during through this stretch. 2018 is a ripe vintage for sure, but as compared to the bombastic 2015's, the alcohol is lower, acidity higher, and freshness a big part of the finished product.

    Today, I'm happy to turn to Jean-Louis Dutraive's top range from Fleurie. Yields may be improved, but alas, this is Dutraive. Demand always outweighs supplies.

    As compared to other titans of Cru Beaujolais, Foillard and Lapierre, I find Dutraive's often lighter in color, with a more concentrated, lifted spice, and a more wild natural element that stands out from the pack due to his lower sulphur protocol. Waiting several years after release to get into top cuvées has been a big goal of mine, as the rare aged Dutraive is pure magic when fruit begins to fall more to the background and exotic spices become more prominent.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • The Clos de la Roilette Fleurie:  Cuvée Tardive & Griffe du Marquis

    The Clos de la Roilette Fleurie: Cuvée Tardive & Griffe du Marquis

    The opportunity to taste the best of Cru Beaujolais with age is, unfortunately, a rare treat. By nature, the juicy and supremely approachable Gamay-based wines are most commonly opened within a year of their release. 31 tables at the Rainbow Room for a La Paulée Verticals Tasting were filled with the best of Burgundy - RoumierLafon,RousseauMugneret-GibourgD'Angerville, and one sole Cru Beaujolais: the Clos de la Roilette of Fleurie.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the two top wines of the domaine, the 2017 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive and the 2016 Griffie Du Marquis. Both complete with a small group of magnums.

    The wines of the Coudert family are best known for their unrivaled complexity and track record of aging brilliantly. Set alongside Burgundy's most elite at La Paulée, the chance to taste different vintages side-by-side was a great reminder that the best of Cru Beaujolais greatly rewards the patient.

    The story of Roilette's evolution in a fascinating one. The vineyards were historically classified as Moulin-à-Vent, and its owners proud of that designation. But, in the 1920's districts were re-drawn and the Fleurie appellation was created. This new-found appellation required to adorn labels enraged the owner of the Clos de Roilette. Instead of printing Fleurie in large text across the center of the label he chose to use a photo of his racehorse, and refused to sell his wines in France, exporting 100% of his production to neighboring countries.

    In 1967 ownership had changed hands, and this now largely untended vineyard went into the thoughtful control 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 is located 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. 

    The Cuvée Tardive is the top wine of the estate, aged in large foudre. It's sourced from the oldest vines, 80-90 years in age. In each passing year the Tardive shows increasing elegance and begins to more closely resemble Pinot Noir. In blind tastings many times Beaujolais with 10+ years is nearly indistinguishable from Burgundy.At under $40 per bottle this wine personifies the value available in Cru Beaujolais.

    The Griffe du Marquis is the rare breed in this stable. It is sourced from vines planted in the 1930's and was first seen with the 2009 vintage. Aged exclusively in smaller Burgundy barrels, of which age ranges between 2 to 6 years. As compared to Cuvée Tardive, the Griffe du Marquis has a greater sense of levity and brightness, and a tannin profile that is a a bit more fine.

    The Fleurie is the most approachable wine of the trio upon release, and taps 30-45 yr-old vines. Aged in large foudre.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • The Last Chapter of Beaujolais:  Métras Fleurie

    The Last Chapter of Beaujolais: Métras Fleurie

    When I travel to France there's always one producer I crave to drink, Yvon Métras. The Fleurie-based vigneron is famous for spellbinding and pillow-soft Gamay with a magic touch of complexity often calling to mind Grand Cru Burgundy before Beaujolais. That's obviously a bold statement, but I've lost count of the times this thought struck me upon first sip. When the wines are on, there is nothing that hits the same high. Unfortunately, Yvon is equally famous for his disdain of paperwork, and so the wines that once were regularly imported to the US have, more or less, stopped.

    Today, I'm very happy to offer a wide range of Métras, including the debut of Yvon's son, Jules Métras' extraordinary 2016 Chiroubles.


    Métras' flagship Fleurie Vieilles Vignes is sourced primarily from two celebrated vineyards, La Madonne and Grille Midi. The former named for the church built on top of the steep hill, and the latter loosely translating to "roasts at noon", as this site garners substantial afternoon heat. Both parcels in these two vineyards are even more prized due to Yvon's collection of vines that top 120-years of age.

    Métras, like Foillard and Lapierre, was heavily influenced by the teachings of Jules Chauvet. Organic viticulture, native yeast ferments, and no sulphur additions. Yvon follows traditional whole cluster, semi-carbonic fermentation in concrete tanks prior to raising in neutral oak.

    If you, like me, have ever had that epiphany moment with Beaujolais where the subtle, yet thundering conviction of the wines strikes a chord, then Métras is akin to the ultimate, final discovery. 

    The Queen of Beaujolais, Fleurie is built around silken texture, pure red cherry and strawberry tones, and finely-woven granitic lacing. Where the Métras wines seem to go above and beyond even his greatest contemporaries is their gripping saturation and relentless finish, still gathering like a cloud on the palate. For Métras, much of the magic is in what we'll never learn, what's unable to be revealed through methods in the cuverie or the vineyard.. And it's this mystery that makes the experience that much more exhilarating to discover for yourself. 
    Posted by Alexander Rosen