2020 Domaine de Fa, Fleurie “Roche Guillon” Cru Beaujolais, France.
Deeply purple/ruby in the glass and heavenly aromatic, richly layered with ripe dark fruits, but with a burst of fresh acidity, savory pop and elegant mineral focus, this gorgeous 2020 Domaine de Fa Fleurie captures the vintage and region to near perfect and is absolutely delicous! Much like the En Busset Beaujolais I reviewed, this Roche Guillon shows off a hedonistic vinous and lush palate with concentrated fruit density and smooth tannins, this Fleurie is impressive for its depth, complexity and raw sex appeal, making Domaine de Fa, made by Antoine Grallot, a new favorite of mine. Antoine’s dad Alain, who’s Crozes-Hermitage wines were always must haves for me, has really taken to the Beaujolais region and is crafting some thrilling wines, especially this one with its soulful and authentic terroir expression and slightly exotic whole cluster excitement. The palate is silken, a highlight of the 2020 vintage, supple and sultry with black cherry, strawberry, wild plum and crushed raspberry fruits, an array of mixed spices, heady violets, fennel, loamy stones, dark sandalwood and a light earthy/savory sense in the background, this is exceptionally posed and pure Gamay at its quaffable best. The all organic Roche Guillon Lieu-Dit, with 30 plus year old vines, at almost 400 meters up, according to Graillot’s importer Chambers & Chambers (West Coast), is a single vineyard, one of the highest in elevation in the Fleurie appellation that is very steep with a cooler west facing exposure and uniquely set on a mix of crushed granite, clay and limestone soils, all of which gives this wine its own distinctive quality.

The famous Graillot family of the northern Rhone, the owners and winemakers, Maxime and Antoine Graillot, son’s of the late Alain Graillot, a legend in the Rhône, for both Domaine des Lises and Domaine Alain Graillot, the fabled Crozes-Hermitage producer, have teamed up to produce these outstanding Domaine de Fa Beaujolais wines. These Gamay offerings are mainly from quality parcels of organic vines set in Fleurie and Saint Amour crus, like this Fleurie Roche Guillon. With Antoine, who is an obvious talent, leading the efforts here at de Fa, since the Graillot’s bought land here back in 2013, there’s a lot to get excited about with the wines so far, with these 2020 offerings being very serious Gamay wines and breakout hits for naturally styled Beaujolais enthusiasts. As mentioned in my prior review of Domaine de Fa, Antoine Graillot employs a traditional approach in the cellar, much the same way as some of the regional stars, like Foillard, Lapierre and Dutraive, using 100% whole cluster, semi carbonic maceration, and native yeast fermentation, with the wines seeing a combination of cement and old wood for aging. Typically the wines see about a year in the concrete vat and lager demi-muid(s), all to promote purity and show off a sense of place. The Graillot’s Domaine de Fa should be on your radar, they a studied collection of reasonably priced wines, that include a Fleurie, a Saint-Amour, this one, and a Saint-Veran cru Chardonnay, all of which I highly recommend chasing down as soon as possible, and while the 2020s are going to be hard to find now, I’m sure the 2021 and 2022 wines will be excellent as well, if not as ripe or plush. The winery is certified organic, but has started the process of conversion to full biodynamic farming that is the norm for the top estates and I look forward to following their efforts for many years to come.
($35 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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