2019 Domaine de la Grand’Cour – Jean-Louis Dutraive – Fleurie, Lieu-Dit Champagne, Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, Cru Beaujolais, France.
The 2019 Dutraive old vine Lieu-Dit Champagne Fleurie is beautifully perfumed, textural and vibrant with a lighter frame, but with superb depth and length showing a slightly cloudy ruby color, heightened floral aromatics and smooth medium bodied palate of strawberry, crushed raspberry, tree picked plum and tart cherry fruits as well as snappy herbs, wilted roses, cinnamon, a hint of fennel and a touch of sandalwood. This is a stunning effort with graceful layering and vitality, confirming the joys of expectations and the talents of the Dutraive family, led by the famed Jean-Louis Dutraive and the emerging gifted touch of his son Justin, who has made quite a name for himself in recent years with his own signature lineup of offerings. Justin Dutraive is part of a growing list of new generation winemakers here in Beaujolais that are leading the region to new levels of quality, especially noteworthy are the likes of Yohan Lardy, Anne-Sophie Dubois, Julien Sunier, Mathieu & Camille Lapierre, Alex Foillard and Charly Thenevet, who like Dutraive is transitioning into the head winemaking role with his family’s property. This historic Domaine de la Grand’Cour does an excellent and world class set of Gamay from their legendary Fleurie parcels, including their flagship Chapelle des Bois and this special Lieu-Dit Champagne plot, which sits on shallow sandy soils over the veins of granite and has mainly fifty plus year old vines. This fresh and wildly delicious 2019 old vine cuvée was naturally and traditionally fermented in cement and then raised for eight months in neutral French oak barriques, making it a wine of rustic charm, but with brilliant clarity of character, this is wonderful stuff and I highly recommend you grab any and all of Dutraive’s Fleurie bottlings!

The Domaine de la Grand’Cour was originally established in back in 1969, according to the winery, in a Summer of love, and the Domaine de la Grand’Cour best holdings are in the Cru Fleurie zone, in what can be considered Grand Cru sites, these consist of three special lieu-dits, the Clos de la Grand’Cour, a Monopole walled vineyard, the mentioned Chapelle des Bois and their Champagne parcel, where this wine came from. These granite soiled sites are some of the most coveted in the region, all of Dutraive’s vines are holistically farmed following methods inspired by the godfather of Beaujolais’ natural winemaking revolution, Jules Chauvet, who inspired the likes of Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Jean-Paul Thevenet and Guy Breton to name a few. Jean-Louis Dutraive, the fifth generation to run this old estate, has exclusively used organic grapes since the 1980s and does most all of his Cru bottlings with 100% whole cluster, which gives these Gamays their glorious complexity, distinction and exotic personalities. The Dutraive ferments naturally with indigenous yeasts, whole bunch, getting a semi carbonic effect and they see long maceration(s) on the skins, somewhere close to a month, which according to the winery, depends on what the vintage gives them. The wines are very gently handled from start to finish and moved only by gravity flow in the cellar, with the Crus being aged for 9 months to more than a year, depending on the individual cuvée. There is a combination of vessels for elevage, mostly though see time in used Burgundy barrels, though sometimes the wines are aged partially in stainless, old foudre, or even cement tanks depending, again, on the vintage. Jean-Louis’ motto in the cellar is what he calls “minimal intervention and maximum surveillance.” All of the efforts in the cellar are to highlight and promote transparency, purity and terroir, which clearly is on full display here, again these wines are most haves for Gamay enthusiasts.
($48 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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