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Clos de la Chapelle des Bois

DSC00320Tasted in Fleurie with Fernand Verpoix, 20 May 2016.

Clos de la Chapelle des Bois
69820 Fleurie
Tel: +33 4 74 04 10 95

This is a beautifully sited exploitation, sitting at the edge of Fleurie with walled vines and an attractive late-19th century (looking) cuverie with, adorning the outside walls, what looks like medal trophies from early 20th century wine competitions. Fernand laughs at this – “No the original owners bred dogs – and those are their medals from dog shows!”

Next to the cuverie is the château – “The château not part of the holding,” explains Fernand, “The château sold in 1974. I managed to get the vines through SAFER but the château was sold on.

Well, even if they are not wine-trophies, it’s certainly still an impressive 19th century cellar! Here Fernand proudly shows the menu for a dinner given by Queen Elizabeth in 2005, where one of his wines was chosen for one of the courses!

The domaine’s 10 hectares of Fleurie vines are situated in the lieu-dits of ‘en Champagne’, ‘Grille-Midi’ and the 4 hectare Clos de la Chapelle des Bois which extends beyond Mr and Mrs Verpoix in my image above. They are actually the biggest owners of ‘champagne’ with 4 hectares though of-course (due to another region in France) they are not allowed to use that name on a bottle.

‘Long fermentations’ are the order of the day – well, long for Beaujolais – 12 days. The fermentations are in stainless-steel, with whole clusters, a grill to stop the cap from floating – the duration depends on the vintage. I have to say that despite the venerable vintages of my hosts, the equipment here is all top-notch – tanks, press, aircon all look new – as does a very expensive looking tractor – this is really a very nice set-up.

There can be up to 50,000 bottles produced, but today it’s a little less as Fernand still commercialises everything from here. He used to sell a lot to Oddbins and Asda in the UK, but since Wal-Mart bought Asda, there are no more orders. Still, he says, he has plenty of négoce knocking at his door to buy in bulk!

The wines…

There is just one cuvée for this producer – though there is more than one mise (bottling…) depending on the order frequency…

2013 Fleurie
Deep dark, faintly spiced fruit. Supple, quite extracted but only a subtle herb and hardly any dryness of tannin. Wide flavour perspective that grows in intensity. Long and hint licorice. Tasty wine.

2014 Fleurie
Starts with some reduction, slowly but surely it opens wider, fresher and more attractive than the 2013. Beautiful width of floral flavour, grows and grows with complexity this is excellent. Dark flavoured but has vigour and complexity – Yum! A great finish too.

2015 Fleurie
Tasted from tank, so already assembled. ‘Will make two bottlings its cheaper because you have to buy all the bottles et-cetera, I can sell some before the second bottling!’
Deep, flashes of fine dark fruit – tight but super. Bright, round, open lovely florality. Nice complexity and finishing intensity too – lets see…

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