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Les Roches de Garants (JP Champagnon)

DSC00039Tasted with Jean-Paul Champagnon in Fleurie, 14 April 2016.

Domaine Les Roches de Garants
La Treille
69820 Fleurie
+33 4 74 04 15 62
www.champagnon.fr

Jean-Paul Champagnon relates that “Yes it’s a family domaine, but not super-old; it was started by my parents in 1952 with metayage vines. They managed to buy some vines too, now the domaine is 11 hectares. The family was from the ‘Hautes Beaujolais’ where life is more about forests and cows – but really not that far away from here.”

The domaine’s vines are mainly Fleurie, in Les Roches where the ‘soil’ is a sandy granite, though some places with quartz and a deeper soil. “A good selection of terroirs, quite a homogenous terroir…” The destemming decision here is function of the vintage – in 2012 all was destemmed – and also the particular parcels. “I’m looking for harmony here – we are vignerons not cork or barrel merchants – I taste far too many technical wines. I simply wait for a decent phenolic maturity – then life is very much simpler.

Jean-Paul on 2014:
“2014 is really a ‘Beaujolais vintage,’ with lots of fruit and flowers. The wines need some evolution and I give a very light filtration.”

The wines…

Lovely wines here. There is a clarity and purity to the wines, less obvious concentration and cushioning texture versus some domaines but honest and intense and seemingly with a finely growing complexity as the wines age. They really get better and better with a little patience!

2014 Fleurie cuvée Champagne
From the south of the appellation, close to Lancie, sandy ground with some ‘white’ deep soil. ‘Was bottled in May.’ Like most wines here, elevage in foudres.
Wide floral, faintly pyrazined. Lovely freshness and dimensions of flavour, still with a pyrazine flavour, modest depth of good texture, nice width of flavour in the mid palate – indeed a good fruit-led finishing flavour. Becoming quite floral.

2014 Fleurie Clos de l’Amandier
‘Theres only one amandier here.’ Bought parcel in 2009 but have exploited the vines for 30 years. Exposed direct south, the wall above deflects the north wind, it’s a tiny area with different soil and rocks. No herbicides, 25 year-old vines, Cordon trained. Have different plantings but the Cordons were the best in 2015, because the goblet-trained vines showed quite a lot of sun-burn – almost too hard to triage.
That’s a fine, focused nose of clean, clear fruit and of some depth too. More concentration, a hint of pyrazine again, riper, darker fruit with a very fine, concentration and texture. Excellent flavour in the finish, part fruit, part mineral. Super wine.

2014 Fleurie Les Moriers
Deep granite with quartz at the limit of some clay, ‘not dissimilar to some burgundy terroirs.’ East-facing, looking towards the MAV vines, with 20-30% incline – only the Champagne is on the flat here – this was at one time sold as MAV
Super clarity and complexity of fruit here, still an accent of pyrazine. Intense, detailed wine – lots of energy, super waves of finishing flavour. Mouth-watering flavour. Super wine, again, here.

2014 Fleurie La Roilette
Here is the produce of completely destemmed, over 100-year-old, vines. 26 day cuvaison, used barrels for elevage. ‘I won’t commercialise this for another couple of years.’
A really large aroma, with plenty of vanilla augmentation. In the mouth this is really a silky wine, and one that flows beautifully over the palate. Super complexity – gorgeous if you can ignore the (current) brutal level of barrel influence. Only a very modest base of tannin here. Fine line of bright finishing flavour, eventually showing a hint of flowers.

2013 Fleurie Les Moriers
“2013 was an easier vintage than 2012 here, I mainly destemmed only the younger vines. We have 7 hectares in Moriers.”
Deep dark fruit of super clarity. Fresh, wide, ultra floral, with a drier base of tannin – but that’s just for the next year or two – nice long finishing on a fresh note. Yum!

2013 Fleurie La Roilette
A wide nose with some detail and interest but rather wider than deep. Also fresh, mouth-filling, more tannin, this needs more time to come together I think, but the mid-palate onwards is really lovely with floral-inflected fruit. Needs a little more bottle time I think, but lots to enjoy here already…

2011 Fleurie La Roilette
The currently commercial vintage.
Here is a lot of complexity – floral, deep dark fruit, mineral. Super-crunchy, croquant, powerful, mouth-filling. Bravo. Still a bit too much of a baby. Massive potential – bravo!
2009 Fleurie Les Moriers
Wow – despite a young colour, here is a fabulous nose of complexity, dark, briary fruit, mineral – just gorgeously inviting! Silky in the mouth, full of dimension and complexity, not super full-bodied, indeed approaching sleek, still some tannin.

1998 Fleurie Les Moriers
Lighter colour, super depth of complex red fruit, clearly of some age. Clean lines, fresh, nicely textured but there’s also a growing tannin. Lovely mouth-watering finish – yum!

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