Tasted with Anne-Sophie Dubois on a cold day in Fleurie, 13 February 2018.
Domaine Anne-Sophie Dubois
Tel: +33 4 74 69 84 45
Anne-Sophie’s family come from champagne, where they have a small domaine between Epernay and Troyes which is with the cave cooperative. The family bought the domaine here in 1992 and then rented it out until Sophie decided to take it on in 2007. There are 8 hectares of vines that planted around the domaine – high up in Fleurie, almost in its own small amphitheatre. It’s not just Fleurie, there’s also a small parcel of Moulin à Vent, though for the last two years it has been hailed – “The soil is a little deeper there versus the soil here in Fleurie, so eventually it will, be interesting” says Anne-Sophie.
Before coming to Beaujolais, Anne-Sophie worked at a number of domaines in Champagne plus with Pascal Roblet between 2002 and 2004 in Volnay.
One part of the domaine is still with the coop, but from 2019 all will be exploited from here – “It’s always 2° cooler here than in Fleurie – and it’s steep here too!” smiles Anne-Sophie, “But we have done a lot of restructuring – some parts are now with 1.2 metre spacing, and that changes everything versus 1.0 metre spacing on goblet! We are also starting AB (Agriculture Boilogique) this vintage, using a small caterpillar tractor for working the soil – Nature is not about letting things do what they want, you have to be even more vigilant! The actual steepness of the slope isn’t always the problem, rather it’s the side angles that makes it difficult – so of-course harder to work than on the flat, but it’s still possible! I think it’s slowly changing here with young newcomers in the vines – there’s a good energy and of-course it is possible to buy vines here – unlike some other places – we are pretty free to try things here as our bottles don’t cost €100!”
“When started I did quite a lot of destemming but since 2015 I really embraced more whole clusters – in that vintage for the extra freshness that they brought. In 2016 did carbonic macerations but with a little more extraction at the finish. I’ve an old traditional vertical press – I find extra clarity in the wines like this – maybe it’s my Champagne side! I do plenty of elevage in barrel, but not new barrels – they come from a good domaine in Chassagne – I buy them at 3-4 years old and I might keep up to 9 years old. Finally I bottle without fining or filtering. The first wines we will taste see a quick elevage for easy fruit and they are bottled in the Spring, the last one with a longer elevage and it’s bottled in November. More and more I’m working with lower temperature fermentations, and always with natural yeast.”
A majority is exported from here – Anne-Sophie’s French market is more Lyon focused.
I asked about her most recent vintages:
“2017 was a dry year – so was 2015 – but probably there’s more freshness in 2017. I sometimes think that 2015 is for people who don’t like gamay as I can find it a little heavy. In the end it was half a harvest volume here, despite really good sanitary conditions and no maladies. I’m happy that the year started wet as there was very little rain afterwards. Here at 300-400 m we still have reasonable acidity to go with the maturites. The future is in the hills!
“2016 brought some frost up here – though less than in 2017. Still, it was practically a normal harvest as we had no hail. There was just a little mildew so some triage was necessary, but I’d be happy with this every year as the wines are brilliant with lovely fruit. I think they are the nicest wines I’ve made since I started here.
A great find – easy wines if you wish and more profound wines – if you wish. An excellent new address.
2016 Fleurie l’Alchimiste
A mix of barrel and tank elevage for this wine.
A modest volume of aroma – easy red fruited but with plenty of appeal. Like the nose a modest volume in the mouth, but with a slowly growing intensity, a depth of flavour and a tasty length.
2016 Fleurie Les Cocottes
Made for drinking and enjoying in the summer – ‘There’s quite a demand for wine like that.’ Bottled in April
A little less colour. A much deeper nose, almost with a saline accent. Round, here with freshness and minerality, only in the middle to the finish is there a developing fruit impression. But still long…. This is a super wine, and I love the freshness – why not cooled and drunk in the summer!
The older vines of the domaine, with an all barrel elevage.
The nose is a little tight but there’s an accent of barrel visible – but a modest accent. Fresh again, cool fruit, very silky wine – charming but layered and really lovely from the middle becoming ever-more complex. This is really delicious – wait a little while – but I see no oak here. I love this wine.