Profile: Cave du Fleurie

Update 27.3.2018(8.3.2018)billn

Tasted in Fleurie with ‘Maitre de Chai,’ Jérôme Donzel, 14 February 2018.

Cave des producteurs des grands vins de Fleurie
24 Rue des Vendanges
69820 Fleurie
Tel: +33 4 74 04 11 70

This cooperative was established in 1927 and is the biggest producer of Fleurie – the cave having about 200 members and 340 hectares of vines, 200 of which are in Fleurie. All 10 of the crus of Beaujolais are made here.

The wines are actually produced in parcels with completely separate vinifications, though when it comes to bottling, much will be assembled. The cave sell three different ‘climat’ wines plus an assembled wine. That’s the theory anyway, because in 2016 there is no Chapelle des Bois due to the hail, and in 2017 it was worse, they only produced the cuvee of assemblage. 2016 delivered half a harvest but it was more like 30% of a regular harvest in 2017. 2015 was also only about 70% of a normal vintage due to the dryness – so that’s three consecutive vintages of belt-tightening in Fleurie.

Jérôme describes the approach of the cave as ‘classic’ – “Using whole clusters, not too much thermo-vinification, certainly less than previously. We are starting to commercialise the 2016s – April to July was the bottling time, last year. The aromas have a more classic fruit in 2016 versus the darker fruit of 2015. We try not to be too interventionist – mainly doing our elevage in concrete tanks. About 15% of our production is commercialized here. In the last vintage we made a Côte de Brouilly for the first time, this from a new member.

There’s some export from here – to the UK for example, but about 15 other countries too. “It’s always hard in France as you are labelled a cave cooperative and the mind is set before they taste the wine” says Jérôme.

The wines…

The first two wines are very simple, but there are no bad wines here. They are clean, drinkable and all are different.

2016 Fleurie
About 30k bottles of this assembly wine in 2016:
Deep, open and inviting, perfumed and classic, floral fruit. Easy, open, I have to say far too easy but at the same time easy to drink and tasty wine. The finish has still a hint of astringance but that will probably be gone in 6 months. Supermarket wine, but tasty all the same…

2016 Fleurie La Madone
About 15,000 bottles. ‘Very poor soil here.’
Just a little deeper colour. More depth of aroma, more complexity too – this is quite attractive. More of everything – volume, decent texture. This is altogether more interesting, with good width and tasty flavour. Easy again for sure and despite the width of flavour, the concentration is modest – still a glass I would happily drink. More mineral and rigour in the finish but it tastes good. It sells in the shop here for €8.80

2016 Fleurie Les Garants
Here the vines close to MAV.
Much deeper colour. A more weighted nose, concentrated and deep. Again lots of volume, really a different flavour profile – there’s plenty of structure and a modest coating of astringence – nothing too much. The flavour is more direct, faintly saline. This is good and a wine that I would drink more than one glass. Good wine.

2016 St.Amour
“Also quite difficult in 2016 – but it was brilliant in 2017 – also perfect conditions in Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly and St.Amour.”
Medium colour. A good nose with a little more strictness of structure but nice shape with pretty aromas. Round in the mouth, sucrosity, growing volume. Like the Garants this is much more interesting than the first two Fleuries, the tannin clings modestly to the palate in the finish. Not quite 2 glasses, but perhaps more than 1!

2016 Morgon
The first was corked – all cork closures are used here. This made from an assembly of climats towards Fleurie – there’s no Côte du Py for example.
A deep nose with a modest but inviting spice, growing width too. Fresh good volume, here is the wine with the most energy so far – the flavour is moderately concentrated but with a good herby complexity. Width and really a good depth of finishing flavour – that’s the best part – a very nice finish.

2016 Chénas
“Just 2 hectares, but a member that always brings very nice grapes.”
Good colour. The nose has fine, concentrated depth and a perfumed accent to the fruit. A suggestion of gas here. Bright fruit, more overtly Beaujolais, plenty of tannin in this case, this is the first wine where I would wait a few months before opening a bottle, broad and floral finishing, with a good persistence. To wait for.

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