2020 Jean-Louis Dutraive – Domaine de la Grand’Cour, Fleurie, Lieu-Dix “Chapelle des Bois” Cru Beaujolais, France.
The magenta/ruby colored 2020 Chapelle des Bois is intensely vivid, crisply detailed and pure with tons of youthful energy and pretty florals with bright strawberry, racy plum and almost tart red currant fruits leading the way with hints of straw, walnut, cinnamon, cut violets and anise adding nice accents here along with whole cluster pop, smoky mineral tones, chalky stones and delicate earthy elements. Jean-Louis Dutraive, as mentioned here at Grapelive.com, ferments all 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 foudres, or even cement tanks. 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, and a true sense of place, with this wine being a classic example of that and an outstanding Gamay that provides pleasure in the glass now, but looks to be rewarding too, if given some extra time in the cellar. This Lieu-Dit typically sees cement fermentation and then is aged for just 6 months in neutral foudres to promote freshness and serves to preserve its vibrancy, as seen here.

The legendary Dutraive family, of Fleurie fame, is led by the famed Jean-Louis Dutraive, and, the emerging talent, son Justin, who has made quite a name for himself in recent years with his own signature lineup of offerings. While dad has built the cult like status here at Domaine de la Grand’Cour and still has superstar presence here, 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 Justin 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 wines from their legendary Fleurie and Brouilly parcels, including this flagship Chapelle des Bois, as well as their Clos and Champagne bottlings. The Domaine de la Grand’Cour was originally established in back in 1969, according to the winery, in the “Summer of love”, and the Domaine de la Grand’Cour’s best holdings are in the Cru Fleurie zone, in what can be considered Grand Cru sites, these consist of three special lieu-dits, the noted Clos de la Grand’Cour, a Monopole walled vineyard, the mentioned Champagne and this Chapelle des Bois, all distinct terroirs and capable of greatness! These granite soiled sites are some of the most coveted in the region, and Dutraive’s vines are holistically and organically farmed following methods inspired by the godfather of Beaujolais’ natural winemaking revolution, Jules Chauvet, who also inspired the likes of Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Jean-Paul Thevenet and Guy Breton. Most of Dutraive’s vines are between 50 and 70 years old, with Chapelle des Bois, a single vineyard, being located just north of the domaine and is known for its perfumed and textural wines, as this 2020 shows, I highly recommend Gamay enthusiasts searching it out, these wines never disappoint!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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