Premier Crus for Fleurie?

Update 9.6.2023(6.6.2023)billn

*The Fleurie appellation is located in the heart of the Beaujolais Crus and overlooks the Saône valley, the AOC Fleurie is backed by a chain of ridges. It culminates between 225 and 475 meters above sea level and flourishes on 840 hectares of vines. The soils are mainly made up of more or less deep and decomposed pink granites which give Fleurie wines a finesse and an elegant structure.
Check out: Fleurie & Fleurie Maps

*As per InterBeaujolais…

Fleurie - Clos de la Chapelle des BoisFor about 10 years now, the ‘Cru Fleurie’ – ie the local association of winegrower/makers – have been involved in collective action and studies with the aim to ‘encourage winegrowers to further improve the quality of their wines and highlight their terroirs in order to reclaim their wine history!

During this period, resources were allocated to both cartographic and geological studies – you have a link to the resulting maps here – this work carried out by the Rhône Chamber of Agriculture in collaboration with the Sigales pedological study office with the aid of InterBeaujolais. The result, with the (above) linked maps, certainly makes it possible to more fully appreciate the diversity of the soils in Beaujolais – granite is not always granite! Further research has included historical price positioning plus a survey on the cultural practices and know-how of the winegrowers.

On Tuesday, March 28 2023, a general meeting was held for the Fleurie Cru and the Beaujolais vineyards. The winegrowers of the Fleurie Cru voted for an update to their specifications plus a list of climats that should be presented with all the collected historical information to the INAO for a Premiers Crus classification. *’Out of more than 70 voters (representing 60% of the surface area of the AOC), more than 85% of the winegrowers voted for the following:

The updated specifications include the following commitments:
– A yield of 52 hl/ha vs 56 hl for the Fleurie without mention of 1er Cru
– Marketing of their wines on September 1st following the harvest vs the current February 1st
– A first harvest after the 5th leaf – it is allowed in the 3rd vintage even for grand crus in the Côte d’Or!
– A minimum degree of 11.5° vs the current 10.5°
– Chemical weeding is prohibited for vines planted at greater than 120cm spacing

The 48 climats of the cru were classified according to the following objective criteria:
– The use of the locality in harvest claims
– The claimed area vs planted area of the locality
– Valuation of vintages
– Tasting notes
– Contemporary literature
– Historical literature
– The cartography

The winegrowers of the Fleurie Cru wish to propose for Premier Cru classification the 7 climats having obtained the best scores in their voting, i.e.:
– Les Moriers
– Poncié
– Les Garants
– La Madone
– La Roilette
– Grille Midi
– La Chapelle des Bois
These 7 localities currently represent 27% of the appellation.

The dossier containing these infos will be presented to the INAO. This is typically a very long process before (or if!) any changes come to fruition – 10-20 years! – with much horse-trading and even the likelihood that the INAO (in exchange) will wish to declassify some parcels from the AOC of Fleurie.

My personal position is that the crus of Beaujolais are effectively (already) the equivalent of premier crus because of the pre-existence of Beaujolais-Villages eg Beaujolais-Lantignie (and many others) and an obvious step up in quality. I would be happier if the energy of the growers was focused on making the very best wine possible as opposed to tinkering with the rules and classification of their climats – yet! – Yet, it is also entirely possible that the improvement in quality that they are searching for and the investment in the best production facilities that can underpin that may only be widely achievable if the can earn a few more euros per bottle and need the influence of a 1er cru label to achieve that. You might say something of a chicken and egg situation…

Click on ‘Read More…’ below to see the notes for 40+ Fleurie wines in the order that they were (blind) tasted this Springtime:

Fleurie tasting Spring 2023

I enjoyed a tasting, in Switzerland (Lausanne) given by the producers of Fleurie, whose notes follow. There were many domaines that I know well and visited in my tour of the region in February 2023 but for this tasting, I chose to taste the wines of producers that I knew less well or didn’t see in February:

Domaine Chaffangeons
Frédéric Perrier – A family domaine, actually in ‘Chaffangeons’ with 17 hectares of vines, 10 of which are in Fleurie. “My grandfather created this domaine but when I came to the domaine in 2006, 90% was sold in bulk – I’m still growing the part sold in bottle and looking to export more. We destem everything here.
2020 Fleurie La Madone
Nice aromatic freshness and purity. Lovely energy, texture and flavour purity too. That’s a lovely first wine.
2021 Fleurie Vieilles-Vignes
Multiple parcels and a part with barrel elevage.
Hmm – more floral perfume. Supple and silky – this has delightful delicacy and interest. Simply a delicious thing, very faintly with some gentian though – super finishing.

Chateau de Fleurie
Xavier Barbet:
2021 Fleurie
Predominantly from parcels in Grand Fers, Garants and Poncié – this cuvée accounts for about 10 hectares of vines.
A more modest energy, ‘all destemmed in 21 so we could extract a little longer.’ Perfumed, though hardly any gentian. Fresh across the palate, nicely vibrant and deep – direct and mineral finishing. There’s a suggestion of gentian but never overt.
2018 Fleurie La Madone
1.2 ha of this, a small part destemmed.
More impact, more spice – some aromatic development here. Impact and width in the mouth too – there’s concentration here but still with freshness. Really impressive finishing – so long, still with modest bitters – great length!
2015 Fleurie La Madone Reserve du cave (Magnum)
Also faintly spiced, a nose that’s less forward and maybe a little more cushioned. A hint of marsala complexity – really mouth-filling. A finish that also impresses, less width but such a length and intensity – still with sone bitters – it’s still young.

Gilles Coperet
2021 Fleurie La Madone
Lots of pyrazine here. Hmm, feels nice across the palate, the finish is complex and long – a juicy and deliciously flavoured wine – despite the herbaceous style of the nose.
2020 Fleurie Les Roches
In bottle just 2 months.
A perfumed width – very attractive. Broad, nicely mouth-watering – a spicy complexity – lots of interest and there’s concentration too. A wine of balanced power – a simply excellent wine.

Chateau des Moriers
Also known as Domaine Monrozier – a domaine begun by great-grandparents of the current proprietors. Vines in Moriers plus a hectare of Moulin à Vent. The 2021s are not yet commercialised, the 2020s neither – ‘We make wines to age!
2018 Fleurie Les Moriers Vieilles-Vignes
High-toned – quite floral. Cool and direct – definitely concentrated. Long and elegant, despite the concentration.
2019 Fleurie Les Moriers La Brirette
A more vertical nose, finely perfumed at the top. Breadth and complexity – I love this energy, slightly round and creamy from some 500-litre barrel elevage. But a super wine…
2020 Fleurie Les Moriers La Brirette
A super nose – multiple dimensions – florals, minerality and energy. Direct, intense, mouth-filling – a very strong finish – a really super finish that’s a simply excellent wine.

Cave des Grands Vins de Fleurie
Yes, the co-operative of Fleurie:
2021 Fleurie Chapelle des Bois
All concrete elevage.
Plenty of green in this aromatic complexity. Good shape and width in the mouth – a 21 of good concentration and great texture – always with a little gentian complexity but otherwise, this is very good.
2021 Fleurie Les Garants
Nicely vibrant red fruit – I see hardly any greens in this one. Mouth-filling with fine density – again a fine texture but with more weight behind it. Very good again!

Domaine Clos des Garands
Xavier Guyot – All with foudre elevage, 80% destemmed in 2021, though this depends on the vintage…
2021 Fleurie Vieilles-Vignes
Definitely some gentian aroma but at the perfumed end of the scale. Direct, cool, fine texture – almost a little minerality – broad finishing almost chalky – I like this a lot!
2020 Fleurie Clos des Garands
Elevage in 225-litre barrels for 18 months
A breadth of silky aroma – not obviously 14.5°! Hmm – very complex still finely energetic too. Lots of creamy barrel but still very well done – a delicious, excellent, wine and very long too.

Domaine de la Madone
Arnaud Despres, who has 18 hectares in Fleurie.
2020 Fleurie Grille Midi
Deep colour, deeper dark red fruit too. Supple, fine concentration – actually a faint gentian in this complexity – like some other 2020s – but this is long finishing, delicious wine.
2020 Fleurie Dame de la Pétoche
80-year-old vines in La Madone
If anything, even darker – vinified like the last but with a small amount of 600-litre barrel elevage.
Dark fruit, less overt aromas. Intense and concentrated – mouth-watering, but a wine that I’d be keeping a few years before approaching.

Domaine des Combiers
Laurent Savoye:
2021 Fleurie Montgenas
Bottled in December.
A concentrated nose with lots of perfumed red fruit – nothing green. Broad, layered, plenty of concentration and a mouth-watering finishing style – simply excellent 2021…
2020 Fleurie Montgenas
Deeper and darker, the wood elevage a little more visible here. Width and flavour energy – a growing frame of furry but not grainy tannin. Concentrated, almost contemplative finishing. Hmm – a very impressive finish too.

Domaine des 2 Fontaines
Sylvain Paturaux:
2020 Fleurie
Fresh aromas, lots of gentian. Good shape, I like the structure here. Mouth-watering in the finish – that’s very lovely – an extra freshness vs the average 2020…
2020 Fleurie La Presle
Some wood elevage for this wine.
More concentrated perhaps more alcoholic in this case too. Broad and concentrated in the mouth – this concentration hiding the structure – a wine for keeping. Super length – impressive here.

Château Bellevue
Elodie Rousselot:
2020 Fleurie Montgenas
Concentrated but bright, some herbed complexity – fine herbs – bouquet garni. Large-scale wine. Impressive, almost vibrant energy. Power and generosity but also very tasty.

Manoir du Carra
Hélène Maisonneuve:
2021 Fleurie Les Deduits
Hmm, plenty of pyrazine here. Supple shape – its nice in the mouth and finishes really well too.

2020 Fleurie Vers le Mont
Redder fruit, more purity – despite the warmth of the vintage. Hmm, this is lovely – not too overtly deep or 2020 – perhaps because the vines are at 380m. That’s a very lovely wine.
Nestor Bélicard
A domaine in Lancié. Nestor came in 2018 to recover the family vines. He actually passed his wine-making exams in 1994 but then went to Paris! He came back and converted direct to organics. He works 5 hectares. Carbonic-maceration approach, old wooden tanks so adds a little sulfur due to those ‘but there’s less than 30 mg for the bottling.
2019 Fleurie Grand Pré
Nicely perfumed – that’s a very lovely invitation. Broad, faintly grained, there’s energy and tons of fine flavour. Excellent wine!
2021 Fleurie Grand Pré
New floral label – Grand Pré not mentioned.
A vertical nose, some structure, minerality and red berry. Hmm, vibrant and clean flavours. Lovely wine – indeed a super 21 – ‘I harvested very ripe’
2018 Fleurie Grand Pré
‘My first harvest – a very sunny vintage and I probably maverated too long’
The nose has no excess – complex, perfumed – lovely. Large-scaled and complex, energetic too. Give this a couple more years but its excellent

Domaine de Roche Guillon
An old family of Fleurie – Bruno Copéret:
2021 Fleurie
Airy, faintly gentian aromatics. Mouth-filling, a hint saline with good energy. I like the finish very much – this is a delicious and refreshing wine too.
2020 Fleurie
Hmm, nicely perfumed. Larger scale in the mouth, more intense, more power but never excessive – a lovely wine

Domaine de FA
11 ha – 3.5 of which are in Fleurie and they are organic here.

2021 Fleurie Roche Guillon
High toned aromas, pretty red fruit. Hmm, depth pf flavour with delicious energy,almost juicy. Thats a great 21!
2020 Fleurie Roche Guillon
Deeper colour. A deeper nose but also with some beautiful, accents of perfume. Fresh – broad, great impact – beautiful energy. Thats another top wine.

Domaine Grands Fers
Christian Bernard – 6 ha – 5.5 is Fleurie, all in the east of the appellation.
2022 Fleurie Gamay Noir
Just 3 weeks in bottle.
The nose has some impact and power but not a bit heavy. Mouth-filling, mouth-watering. Growing in intensity, very faintly accented with tannin. Finishing well – you should probably wait but this is at least very good!
2020 Fleurie Les vieux gamays
Effectively the domaines vv cuvee – ‘still trying to keep a good drinkability.’
Extra aromatic breadth – complex, grained complexity, almost a hint of marsala. Sleek, growing with impressive intensity – there’s energy here too. Super long, really impressove wine – but for keeping.

Maison Piron
2021 Fleurie
Wide and very attractively red fruited. Mouthfilling, complex, super red-fruited energy. Yum!
2020 Fleurie
More colour. More depth and concentration to these aromas too. Broad, super intensity. Long! A really impressive wine but its one for a little patience!

Domaine de Valma
This is the first vintage of this domaine, with 5.5 ha 4 in Les Labourons
2021 Fleurie Labourons
Fresh, clean, broad. Open, has nice intensity, very tasty. There’s energy but clean precision too – I think this is excellent.

2021 Fleurie Labourons Face B
Harvested a few days later and with a little barrel elevage
Hmm, faintly creamy in this aromatic complexity. Rounder, fuller, still clean and open, melting and mouthwatering, beautifully intense, faintly creamy but not a bit distracting. Top!

Guillaume Chanudet
Who is also a pepineriste. “I like hard vintages I think they make the best wines too! I destem to avoid anything green…
2021 Fleurie La Madone
Dark red berries – destemmed. Clean, pure, slightly cushioned – vibrant finishing energy. Such a lovely finish – this is excellent.
2021 Fleurie Patte du Petit Chat
Deeper colour wth some wood elevage. Dark fruit with a little graphite minerality and freshness. Intense, darker fruit, a faint gentian aparrent but at this level it’s attractive. Super, moreish finishing again.

Marc Delienne

2021 Fleurie Greta Carbo
Im happy 12 degrees, this in Les Deduits’
Round, hyper attractive red fruit. There’s depth here – lovely depth – not a simple drinking wine – this is more than excellent.

2021 Fleurie La vigne des fous
From the steep part of la madone.
More colour. More direct, faintly graphite complexity and darker fruit. Wider, and a little salinity is visible here. Broad and very attractively finishing – almost juicy – delicious wine!

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