Tasted in Fleurie with Jean Pierre Rodet and Cyrielle Rizzo, 21 April 2016.
Château de Fleurie
I have to thank Maison Jean Loron for cementing indeed pushing the conversion of my Beaujolais interest into action re visiting the region and its producers. Here is one of Loron’s properties – they have a portfolio of half a dozen discreet domaines that remain separate from the running of Maison Loron, though for some of those domaines, Loron’s chief winemaker Jean Pierre Rodet remains a constant.
Built in the 18th century Château Fleurie sits, relatively discreetly, quite close to the church in the centre of Fleurie 13 hectares – all in Fleurie. The domaine was bought by Xavier Barbet’s grandfather, and remains family owned. The vines can found in the climats of Le Bourg, Les Rochaux, Point du Jour, and La Madone. Poor, sandy soils of typical rosé granite.
It’s a big cellar here, contemporary to the château, with 3 hectares of vines sitting directly outside the château’s walls in a climat called Viviers. Here in the centre of town, Viviers has lower avidity and very much redder soil – it’s relatively precocious – La Madone, for instance, is harvested as much as 14 days later.
Manual harvests with partial (40%) destemming. Stainless-steel fermentation tanks are used, filled by giraffe, with a grill in place and then they do remontage. Jean Pierre notes that the time of cuvaison is governed by tasting – but up to 25 days for La Madone. One racking (to get rid of gros lees) is made into foudres of between 40-65 hectolitres, each foudre corresponding to the size of the stainless steel tanks above. Then the wine is ready for the malo.
I guess it’s fair to assume that Loron are the distributors of these wines 😉
Two extraordinary wines to start with:
2015 Chateau Fleurie, Fleurie La Madone
60% stems, with a grill to keep the stems from floating.
Super deep colour. Lots of fresh fruit, complex and highly inviting. Massive in the mouth, a hint of gas still, big flavoured, muscular wine, but with super texture – the combination is excellent.
2015 Château de Fleurie
12-15 days maceration, again with elevage in foudre. This will be in foudre until at least the end of 2016.
A deeper, darker, riper nose adding a floral perfume too. Also some gas, but there’s freshness here, and a more obvious structure. A burst of finishing flavour.
2014 Château de Fleurie
Also a super colour. Round, pretty red fruit. In the mouth too, round, silky, more florals on view. Fine almost chewy depth of finishing flavour. Very fine – super wine.
2013 Château de Fleurie
A late harvest for BJ – October. Destemmed a little more in this vintage.
Deep, floral, a little more obviously BJ in character but with a nice softness. Beautiful softness in the mouth – still with a considerable base of ripe, finely grained tannin. Excellent weight of finishing flavour. Simply a lovely wine…
‘No triage, a good yield and a great vintage.’
Deep colour but possible to see through. A deep, deep nose – with subtle complexity of flowers, herbs and dark fruit. Amazing depth. Mouth-filling without obvious concentration but everything in place, layered, relatively modest acidity after the 13, but massive in virtually all directions. Simply a great wine – from 2025! The tannin is super-fine grained.
‘Warmer than 11, slightly lower yields.’
Beautiful flowers, lots of depth. Almost, surprisingly, a hint of sous-bois but not yet Marsala! Supple, indeed sumptuous. Lovely round, well-textured wine. Cosseting wine… Just wonderful.
1991 Château de Fleurie
‘A late frost here, lost lots of white, but generally a great year for the reds’ – like the Côte d’Or.
Still a great colour. Sous bois, a floral note is still rising from the glass. Mouth-filling, sleek, here is a Marsala note in the mid-palate but with much style and even chocolate; the chocolate and freshness together gives an impression of an after-dinner mint. Bravo!