Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvee Tardive 2017

Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvee Tardive 2017

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Located in the Fleurie appellation Clos de la Roilette is widely considered one of the best domaines in all of Beaujolais. The estate covers about 22 acres in some of the choicest part of Fleurie. Bordering Moulin-a-Vent (under which it had been formerly classified) it has an ideal eastern exposure and soils that are a mix of clay and manganese, more akin to those commonly found in its neighboring appellation. This shows in the wines as Clos de la Roilette's wines are more structured with deeper and more complex flavors than the fruitier, more feminine style usually found in the wines of Fleurie.

Actually the original owner of the estate was so furious when the Fleurie appellation was created in the twenties and he lost the right to call his wine Moulin A Vent under which name it had been sold before, that he created a label using a photograph of his horse "Roilette" and used the name Clos de la Roilette without even mentioning Fleurie! By the 1960's the original owners' heirs had lost interest in the property and had allowed the vineyards to go wild and untended. In 1967 Fernand Coudert bought this poorly maintained estate and replanted most of the vineyards. He was joined in 1984 by his son Alain who has been the winemaker since.

Clos de la Roilette produces mainly 2 wines, their regular cuvee made from the replanted vineyards that are on average 25 to 30 years and a "Cuvée Tardive" which they started making in 1995 and comes from the original plantings of the estate and are an average of 80 years of age. The maceration is longer than for their traditional bottling and it is then aged in large old casks (foudres) before bottling.

The undoubtedly great 2009 is a tough act to follow but as the harvest developed it became clear that 2010 would be an excellent and exciting vintage as well. The flowering in Beaujolais was delayed by cool temperature in the late Spring which meant a later harvest than usual. The slower ripening grapes developed superb aromatics and were very concentrated and vibrant.
The style of the wines in 2010 is quite different than 2009 with wines that have more crunchy fruit style notes and great freshness. They remind me somewhat on the 2005 Beaujolais at the same stage.

Our small allocation of Clos de la Roilette "Cuvée Tardive" arrived this morning and by lunchtime we couldn't wait anymore and decided to pop open a bottle! What we found was a wine with a deep robe with shades of dark ruby. It has very pretty and understated aromas of cassis and fresh cherries, faint notes of green pepper and a very refreshing underlying minerality. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with fresh fruit notes and some tartness that wake up the senses. It has a nice finish with some tannins. I recommend this for mid term cellaring (3-5) but it is already delicious today.

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