Cru Beaujolais in many ways has been a cornerstone of our selection from the start. While Foillard, Métras, Lapierre, and Dutraive represent the foundation for the greatest value reds in France, the younger generation is now clearly making its mark. No producer has garnered the same praise (and limited allocations) anywhere close to that of Yann Bertrand. Yann may be separated from the aforementioned because of age, but when you line up his wines it's crystal clear these are masterful interpretations of terroir.
Yann grew up in Fleurie, but after studying commerce in school and traveling through the Alps he never expected to circle back to become its generation's brightest talent. He found himself working in a wine shop, and surrounded by passionate people the flames of curiosity were stoked. He moved to spent time working under perhaps the most revered names of the region, Yvon Métras and Jean Foillard. Like them, Yann knew that organic farming and traditional methods in the cellar would be his path forward.
Yann's family had purchased vineyards in 1992 slowly converting them to organic. And in 2013 Yann took a more active role leading the domaine. He began applying what he had soaked up from these apprenticeships. Similarly, Yann's style is one of elegance, silken texture, and is laser-focused on expressing each unique terroir in the Famille Bertrand stable.
Phénix is a brand new bottling from Yann coming from Fleurie's most prized sites: Poncié, La Madone, and Les Déduits. The higher altitude parcels are comprised of sandy granite, while lower slopes are sandy clay with pink granite. These finer soils contribute to Fleurie's reputation as the Queen of Beaujolais, but ultimately its the magic touch of Bertrand that renders Gamay at its most suave and seductive.
2016 in Beaujolais saw yields greatly reduced, but the little that was made has shown to be exceptional. The vintage is build on brightness of fruit, clarity, and great concentration thanks to these minuscule yields. Yann's wines never last long on the shelf and 2016 should prove to be even more challenging to keep in stock. I got out ahead of this one securing 750ml and magnum bottles immediately. Phénix arrives today and it is not to be missed!
2016 Yann Bertrand Fleurie Phénix
$33 per bottle.
2016 Yann Bertrand Fleurie Phénix 1.5L
$69 per bottle.
Planning wines to accompany dining through the dog days of summer can be a tall task. Whites obviously offer tremendous flexibility, but choosing reds can be a delicate process. While those juicy sub-$20 options bring great refreshment, often there's a craving for more serious structure and depth. On one hand Cru Beaujolais brings cellar potential that shouldn't be overlooked, but top Gamay can also benefit from a slight chill. Whether it's cured meats and cheese at a picnic or roast chicken at the dining table, these top bottlings hit the bullseye for me.
We've created special pricing today offering 10% off any mix of 12 bottles or more from the region's top producers listed below.
2013 Foillard Morgon Eponym "Les Charmes" $40
2014 Foillard Morgon Eponym "Les Charmes $40
2012 Foillard Fleurie $48
2013 Foillard Fleurie $48
2014 Foillard Fleurie $48
2014 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py $40
2015 Foillard Morgon Cuvée Corcelette $40
2015 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py $40
2013 Foillard Morgon 3.14 $77
2015 Foillard Morgon Côte du Py 1.5L $85
2015 Lapierre Raisins Gaulois $17
2015 Lapierre Morgon $37
2015 Lapierre Morgon Cuvée Marcel Lapierre MMXV $48
2014 Lapierre Morgon 1.5L $72
2014 Lapierre Morgon "Camille" 1.5L $109
2015 Lapierre Morgon 1.5L $73
2015 Lapierre Morgon Roche du Py Camille $48
2015 Justin Dutraive Fleurie Chapelle des Bois $36
2015 Dutraive Fleurie Clos de la Grand Cour $34
2015 Dutraive Fleurie Cuvée Champagne Vieilles Vignes $59
2014 Dutraive "Clos de la Grand' Cour" Fleurie 1.5L $87
2015 Dutraive Fleurie Cuvée Champagne Vieilles Vignes 1.5L $109
2015 Dutraive Fleurie La Part des Grives $64
2016 Dutraive Fleurie $35
2016 Dutraive Brouilly Cuvée Vielles Vignes $38
2016 Dutraive Fleurie Tous Ensemble $48
2016 Château Thivin Beaujolais-Villages Rosé $22
2015 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly $25
2005 Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cuvée de la Chapelle $69
2015 Thivin Cote de Brouilly 1.5L $59
2014 Sunier Fleurie $33
2015 Sunier Fleurie $33
2014 Julien Sunier Fleurie 1.5L $69
2015 Julien Sunier Fleurie 1.5L $67
2012 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 1.5L $74
2014 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive $29
2014 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 1.5L $74
2015 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive $29
2015 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 1.5L $74
2014 Jean-Paul Brun (Terres Dorées) Fleurie $29
2009 Jean-Paul Brun (Terres Dorées) Fleurie 1.5L $88
2015 Anne Sophie Dubois Fleurie Clepcydre $33
2003 Thévenet Morgon Vieilles Vignes 1.5L $129
2009 Chateau des Jacques Moulin-à-Vent $44
2013 Métras Fleurie Vieilles Vignes $59
2013 Métras Moulin-à-Vent $59
2014 Jules Métras Beaujolais Villages Bijou $40
2015 Jules Métras Beaujolais-Villages Bijou $45
2014 Métras Fleurie Vieilles Vignes $69
2014 Métras Moulin-à-Vent $69
2015 Métras Fleurie $75
2014 Métras Fleurie L'Ultime $139
2012 Métras Fleurie 1.5L $149
2012 Métras Moulin-à-Vent 1.5L $149
2013 Métras Fleurie Vieilles Vignes 1.5L $139
2014 Métras Fleurie 1.5L $139
2014 Métras Moulin-à-Vent 1.5L $139
2015 Métras Fleurie 1.5L $149
2015 Métras Moulin à Vent 1.5L $149
2014 Métras Fleurie l'Ultime 1.5L $299
The Gang of Four brought the attention first to serious Beaujolais and its small, natural grower-producers. Today, many vignerons from Burgundy and elsewhere have descended upon the region in search of their own land. Prices have climbed, but still pale in comparison to their northern neighbors. One of the most exciting new discoveries comes from Anne Sophie Dubois who, after working in Volnay, has made a huge mark in a short period of time. Today, we focus on her top wine made only in special vintages from her oldest vines in Fleurie.
Dubois's work in Volnay and her fondness for the wines of the revered Henri Jayer greatly influenced her approach to winemaking. Most Cru Beaujolais traditionally utilizes whole clusters and semi-carbonic fermentation, a method that endows the wines with tell-tale fruity and bouncy qualities. Although I adore the wines ofFoillard, Lapierre, and Métras, there's something about Dubois that grasps you in avery different way.
Her approach of de-stemmed Gamay and traditional Burgundian fermentation provide more structure and definition than the norm. If Fleurie is the Queen of Beaujolais, Dubois shows it through a lens of rigor, discipline, and uncommon depth.This is Vin de Garde Cru Beaujolais, and its obvious potential in the cellar shouldn't take away from the unbelievable joyous drinking it offers today.
Wild dark fruits, lavender, smoke, and granitic minerality are displayed with a saturating palate presence. Tannins are pronounced, but framed within beautifully rounded edges.
2015's hot and dry conditions do work well in Beaujolais, Gamay naturally strutting its stuff here. However, the carbonic methods employed by some have taken the juicy elements a bit far. Dubois and here Burgundian approach play perfectly into the warm year, where the structure of these wines harness the fruit brilliantly.
Clepcydre is Anne Sophie's top wine (the french word for water clock, were used as time measuring instruments in ancient Egypt). It is sourced from a granite parcel of vines with a minimum age of 60-years-old. It is released only in vintages deemed worthy.
Jon Bonné's words on Dubois drive home the magic of this new discovery:
"Dubois makes some of the most soulful, Burgundy-like versions of Beaujolais that I’ve encountered...a Fleurie with a bit of fealty to the Cote d’Or."
2015 Anne Sophie Dubois Fleurie "Clepcydre"
$33 per bottle.
The opportunity to taste the best of Cru Beaujolais with age is, unfortunately, a rare treat. By nature, the juicy and supremely approchable Gamay-based wines are most commonly opened within a year of their release. 31 tables at the Rainbow Room at La Paulée's recent Verticals Tasting were filled with the best of Burgundy - Roumier,Lafon, Rousseau, Mugneret-Gibourg, D'Angerville, and one sole Cru Beaujolais: theClos de la Roilette of Fleurie.
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 newfound 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 maganese 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 $30 per bottle this wine personifies the value available in Cru Beaujolais.
Some notes on vintages:
2015: Very hot and dry year, conditions closest to 2009 and 2005. Powerful and structured. Wines still retained very good acidity given the warmer growing season.
2014: Mid-weight in style, with great concentration of fruit and very good structure. A classic vintage expected to age very well.
2012: A challenging vintage that produced wines that have proven to be accessible and soft from day one.
2011: A tremendous vintage for the region. Beautifully balanced wines that have it all, fruit, structure, and great freshness.
2009: The vintage that seemingly placed Cru Beaujolais into worldwide wine drinker's consciousness. Powerful and dark wines that saw high ripeness met with deep texture. More darker fruited than what's customarily found here.
2015 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive
$29 per bottle.
2015 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 1.5L
$74 per bottle.
2014 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive
$29 per bottle.
2014 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 1.5L
$74 per bottle.
2012 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive
$29 per bottle.
2011 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 1.5L
$79 per bottle.
2009 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie
$58 per bottle.
2009 Clos de le Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 1.5L
$87 per bottle.