Tasted in Fleurie with Alexandra de Vazeilles, 06 February 2020.
Château des Bachelards
+33 9 81 49 47 00
Alexandra on 2019:
2019 is my 4th year of organics here. A good rendement – it was 10 hl/ha way back in 2014. Last year I never saw such green in my vines despite the two canicules of the summer. I think the wines are racy and fresh – there was no water-stress to be seen. Because of this the ‘factory’ of the vines never ceased their work – so it’s not maturity by concentration. Not an easy year though – we were lighting candles in the vines to protect against frost. The 10 days of floraison was quite long – at was windy and rain at that time – coulure and millerandes was the result. We started our harvest 12 September, in St.Amour, practically infusions in the cuverie for this vintage.”
Alexandra on 2018:
“2014 was cold, 2015-2018 were hot – but there are still differences – 2018 is similar in profile to 2015. 2015 was obstreperous, in 2016 we are much more chic – elegant and fleshy. 2016 and 2017 are similar because they didn’t have the hot nights of 2015. There were 2 difficulties in 2018, the first was the mildew – we’re proud because we ‘spent’ only 2 kg of copper to control it – it was just so wet I had curly hair for 2 months! We sprayed some bio clay to help protect, tisane and osier too, 2kg of osier is enough for 10 hectares. It was a wonderful and cold winter though, three times we were below -5°C. The second difficulty was to manage the heat and dry of the summer. We had no hydric stress as the old vines have great roots here. Yields were 38-40 hl/ha – I’m so very happy with that – the replanted areas are of-course not yet producing. The keys were the date and speed of harvesting – everything was completed here in 5 days.”
Alexandra prefers a longer elevage, and not to show wines before they are bottled – so we taste 2017s – but this is, then, a shorter tasting than normal as there is no Fleurie in 2017 – due to the hail – I well-remember Alexandra’s throwaway remark a few years ago – ‘there was hardly enough to make confiture!’
Excellent wine or ‘grand vin’ in 2017 – it’s your choice!
These all bottled in July:
2017 Petite Fleur IGP
Normally a blend of the Fleurie and Lancié vines.
A depth of aroma is the first impression but there’s a freshness of citrus-skin too. This sits well on the palate – open, but melting with mouth-watering flavour. A base of fine-grained tannin, nicely vibrant depth of finishing flavour. Full of interest and complexity – give it another year and it will be fully delicious too. Excellent wine.
2017 Moulin à Vent
Altogether wider and more textured impression to this aroma – a Vosne-style of delivery. Based in minerality yet all the volume of Moulin à Vent in the mouth. The similar texture of tannin to the Petit Fleur, perhaps slightly finer-grained. Wide, classically flavoured, slowly mouth-watering – the tannin is still your companion in the finish. Another wine for patience – one with clarity of flavour and energy too – as a minimum, this is excellent.
Here is black granite, limestone and schist. The granite here is similar to that in Moulin à Vent. ‘I think this wine is really benefitting from getting the life back into the soils. I bought 0.26 ha of new vines in 2018, currently, there’s less life in those soils – it’s quite impressive to see how much better the older parcel showed – it’s always the 3 years of conversion to biodynamics that makes the difference.’ Not normally shown after the MaV, but there was a hunt for the right bottle!
That’s a beautiful width of aroma – there’s concentration and complexity too – I sense the same citrus skin note as the first wine. More supple more velvet texture – the tannin is there but über-finely grained. There is a modest energy, yet the wine is completely mouth-watering, some small finishing bitters adding an extra complexity in the graphite-mineral finale – before widening again in the finish. That’s a top wine. Bravo!