All wines stored at 55° and 70% humidity
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.
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.