Tasted in Fleurie with Jean-Louis Dutraive, 13 February 2018 – pictured right in his cellar – almost a mini-Château Chaize.
Domaine de La Grand’Cour
Tel: +33 4 74 69 81 16
Jean-Louis’ father, Jean, bought the domaine here in 1969, following the break-up of a much larger domaine called Crozet, which also included today’s Domaine Roilette*. At that time it was a ‘mixed’ domaine that also produced cereals. Jean was at one time also the president of the growers’ association Fleurie. Jean-Louis joined his father at the domaine in 1977 before fully taking over in 1989.
And a ‘Grand’Cour’ this domaine is: Set just a little lower on the slope under the town of Fleurie, the domaine consists of two rows of opposing buildings on either side of the courtyard (cour) opening out onto their 6 hectare monopoly of a clos in Fleurie’s Grand’Cour climat. There are further domaine vines in Fleurie; 1.4 hectares in the climat of Champagne and 1.9 hectares in the climat of Chapelle des Bois. There is a further 1.8 ha of Brouilly, there is more limestone in the soil here, which has been in the family for 5 generations. In total it’s a domaine of 11.5 hectares of vines, almost 10 of which sit on the granite of Fleurie.
Jean-Louis’ harvest is manual, the fruit collected in small cases before a cool maceration @ 7°C with just a little added CO2 and 3 weeks of cuvaison – “I don’t look for strength, and the fermentation is still only at 18-19°C.” Typically with barrel elevage – 60-70% – plus some foudres, but given the hail damage in the last two vintages – 2.2 hl/ha produced in 2016 and 4.5 hl/ha in 2017 – it’s far from regular. Jean-Louis notes “I made some purchases, but the domaine is bio, so it’s hard to find things like that – we were the first domaine in bio in the area.”
About 60% of the domaine’s production is export, and with a smile Jean-Louis says “I’ve started a négoce with my kids (Justin and Ophélie), buying organic viticulture fruit, have some St.Amour.”
*When the appellation Fleurie was created in the 1920s, Monsieur Crozet, was so annoyed that a part of his estate had lost its classification as Moulin-a-Vent – it reverted to Fleurie – that he created the trademark “Clos de la Roilette,” named after his race-horse, with Fleurie in the smallest of letters beneath it – just the same as Alain Coudert’s Clos de Roilette label today. The Crozet family eventually sold their vines, with Fernand Coudert acquiring Roilette in 1967 and Jean Dutraive the Grand’Cour in 1969.
Tasting here you need to recalibrate. The wines are practically rosé colour but don’t be fooled by that, they open wider and wider on the palate with fine intensity and with great finishing panache. Sincere wines, iconoclastic for sure, but wines that deliver too – the least avant-garde thing about the domaine seems to be the labels!!
First a few 2017s from barrel:
2017 Fleurie Clos de la Grand’Cour les Déduits
Modest colour, engaging fruity nose that’s wide-open, modest but with a pretty red fruit.
2017 Fleurie Champagne
Champagne was less hailed. ‘It’s a vintage that’s more floral’ says Jean-Louis
Also very modest colour. A little petillance, soft red fruit, pretty in very different style. There’s a super length and indeed weight of finishing flavour.
2017 Brouilly Cuvée Vieilles Vignes
No hail, but still only about 25 hl/ha mainly due to the dryness. Practically 70 year-old vines here.
Again quite pale. Wide floral red fruit styled nose. Ooh, super across the palate, lovely complexity. All the wines are almost rosé-style but delicious.
Those were the domain wines, the following was bought:
2017 Fleurie La Madonne
Plain south-facing, vines in the family next to the vines of Metras’ cuvée Ultime. 50% destemmed here, so probably that brings some extra colour.
Certainly a deeper colour. Wide, fresh, more depth of floral fruited flavour. The depth and width of flavour are very promising.
A mix of all parcels and some purchases because of the hail. No sulfur at all during elevage, just a touch before bottling.
Light colour, far from a light nose as there’s lots of aromatic volume here, very red fruited, a depth of vibrant minerality. Very silky, layered, delicious flavour, open and floral with great persistence. Very different style to a majority of domaines, but really a super wine!
2015 Fleurie VV
’25-26 hl for a hot year that’s a correct rendement.’
Width and freshness of aroma – also deep. The palate has some faintly saline, sweetness and complexity combined – just a delicious and open complexity of flavour
1995 Fleurie VV
Was in ‘raisonnée’ at that time, still a semi-carbonic fermentation with very little sulfur but the fermentation was a little higher temperature, as it was harder to play with temperatures then so went up to 25-27°C.
Plenty of colour. Deep, cushioned, faint leaves, nothing oxidative. Depth, weight – lots of concentration here, a little less sweet than the last, but simply a delicious and completely memorable bottle for its youthful approachability.