Château des Bachelards – 2016


Tasted in Fleurie with Alexandra de Vazeilles, 14 February 2018.

Château des Bachelards
69820 Fleurie
+33 9 81 49 47 00

Alexandra on 2017:
In 2017 I’m very happy as I have my 40 hl/ha which was always my biodynamic target – but that is not the reality of the domaine harvest – as there is no Fleurie – none. Again due to hail. The 40 hl/ha was from the parts not hailed, the average for the domaine is, of-course, much lower.

Alexandra on 2016:
The 2016s still in elevage to be bottled in April. 2016 was a wonderful winter with 2-3 weeks below zero. Winter and Spring were rather wet – almost alternating rain and sun. The flowers came rather early but was all done in 3 days – in Moulin à Vent, St.Amour and Fleurie. We went through that difficult period using just 1.6kg of copper per hectare – that’s almost half the BD limit – I believe that biodynamics were really helpful in that period, using lots of organic clay treatments. The vines looked wonderful up to the 24 June. Hail. 50% in Fleurie and 100% in Moulin à Vent. Directly we treated with arnica and valerian to try to protect the wood for the next year – we did three passes in 48 hours. Our St.Amour was fine. Here, the Clos survived in Fleurie – it was black/white in terms of what survived. We harvested late for density and complexity, bringing in an average of 25 hl/ha for the domaine. In spite of all, it remains a sunny and hot year. I used 25 harvesters for 5 days, destemmed, had four weeks of fermentations with local yeast populations. Pressed followed by 2 years of elevage.

“2016 was my first vintage with a new foudre, a 500l barrel, plus one-year-old barrels from Mouton. I used everything because I wanted to build my comprehension for the effect of wood on the gamay – the foudre was a big purchase but I wasn’t sure that I would buy a second. In the end all brought something a little different and I really see the positive effect of blending them all.

I note that there’s now a second foudre in the cellar!

The wines…

A difficult year at the château but really a high level of achievement can be seen in the glass – bravo!

DIAM10 here, even DIAM30 for magnums – the packaging is unchanged for 2016.

2016 Fleurie Esprit de Finesse, Grand Vin
Bottling roughly in April in line with BD calendar, to be released January 2019.
Deep colour, practically saturated. Hmm – here is a width of aroma, fine fruit and then there is quite some profound depth – edged with a faint, silky floral aspect – almost sumptuous, totally inviting. Freshness, volume growing in size. I like the scale and structure of this wine, the various components hanging from that structure. Wide with a blast of beautiful flowers – fine width with just a twist of finishing rigour – a modest austerity that bodes well for the future. Fine texture and a slow, slow diminuendo of finishing flavour, practically with a suggestion of coffee – but I just drank one! Simply excellent.

2016 Fleurie Le Clos
More overt freshness here – fine aromatic volume, less overt weight of fruit – more airy. Ooh – an extra level of mouth-filling presence. Freshness, open, extra tension, texture from the tannin – but no grain is discernible. Simply a super depth of flavour. Great presence here – but wait 5 years for the ensemble to melt together – super in the finish – really super with a burst of extra complexity coupled to super-impressive length. Great wine!
2016 St.Amour
Here is black granite, limestone and schist. The granite similar to that in Moulin à Vent.
The colour is just less opaque. Here the nose still has some tank reduction, but at the same time has a very fine width and a slowly growing floral character – wait 5 minutes and it is ever-more perfumed as the reduction fades. Extra sucrosity, against a reductive aspect and a more present tannin. Almost a little blocky impression but I love the depth and expression of the the flavour – very complex but always open. The finish is about width and holding onto the texture of the tannin for as long as possible. The elevage is not quite done here though I currently see a wine showing intermediate to the first two wines in terms of the structure and patience you should devote – devote is a good word for these wines as they are so worth your patience. Potentially great wine again, but wait…

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