Tasted in Fleurie with Joseph Bouchard & Marion Fessy, 04 February 2021.
My first visit to the château since it was divested from the Henriot group. Joseph Bouchard remains an ever-present for the new owner and is as enthusiastic as ever in the vines, taking his ever-larger steps to organic ‘culture’ across the domaine. Joseph is also joined now by Marion Fessy – daughter of Henry and restauranteur in Villefranche too.
The team here are now working 35 hectares, including new parcels, as some from old metayage contracts that have returned to the domaine. They will have a new label too – Chateau Poncié 949 – celebrating the earliest history of the Cistercian monks at Ponciago…
Joseph on 2020:
“2020 was a very dry year for us. It started at a pace in the springtime and everything was in great shape. The dryness did calm things a little but these are wines with good concentration. We had to wait a little – until the 24 August! – to harvest.”
Joseph on 2019:
2019 – almost the same style of year in the vines – the profiles of 2019 and 2020 are very similar, it’s only that we had a cool period in the spring of 2019 which delayed things by 2-3 weeks. The volumes are also very similar in the two years – despite 100mm of rain in August – but they are very low volumes – not a lot more than 20 hl/ha!
A range of simply excellent wines to start with their new labels…
“All the cuvées have been vinified without sulfur in the last vintages – only additions later in elevage/bottling. We saw no issues with fermentations in either 2018 or 2019.”
2019 Beaujolais Villages Blanc
“From the back of the hill of Mongenas which was planted with gamay but we saw that there was much more clay than other parcels and we thought it a cooler place than most so we decided to make a change here – we started with 1 ha and now have 2. Maybe it’s not yet finished. This would be Fleurie if it was still planted with gamay. Very little sees barrel ageing, most in tank. Bottled October. The first wine labelled AB at the domaine – there will be others from 2019, but the larger part will come in 2020.
Deep, fleshy, attractive fruit. Mouth-filling, modestly accented with barrel. Long, rich and fleshy-fruited wine of ripeness but a finishing minerality too.
2019 Fleurie 949
The assembly grapes around the domaine, a small amount of barrel elevage included.
A depth of aroma – darker fruit with ripeness – a little compact. Ooh, that’s good in the mouth though – mouth-filling, ripely mouth-watering but also beautifully textured, cushioned wine. A burst of minerals and flowers in the finish. I’d like a bit more energy, but this is both sumptuous and delicious…
2019 Fleurie Les Hautes du Py
The hillside under the forest, plain south, south-east facing – 300-400m of altitude, south, south-east facing, usually the last parcel to be harvested. Light soil, very sandy old vines, goblet. this was previously named Salomine.
A little wider nose – the fruit more visible – a floral perfume slowly growing in the glass. More direct, silky wine – more intensity – this is more my style of wine vs the louche cushioning of the last. Vibrant and mineral in the finish. Long finishing, of course, that’s really excellent…
2019 Fleurie Les Moriers
Largest proprietors here with 3.5 ha – the side of the hill that looks towards Moulin à Vent. Not the last harvested, though it’s close, despite north, north-east facing vines, as the hill dominates the MAV plain below and always gets the first and last rays of the sun. 50 – 85 year-old vines, not always very high yielding as the grapes are quite small. Extra elevage here vs the last.
Perhaps a touch more colour. Open, deeply fruited and slowly showing a little floral perfume – the most complex of the aromas. Freshness like the last but here is a width of flavour rather than the directness of the last. The tannin slightly more visible, but there’s no grain, just a slight textural modification. I think this is longer but also a more contemplative wine – excellent, but I still have a preference for the energy of the Haute du Py today.