2018 Jean-Louis Dutraive – Domaine de la Grand’Cour, Fleurie “Clos de la Grand’Cour” Cru Beaujolais, France.
This remarkable wine is one of the best and most iconic in the world, yes, Gamay can produce a wine of majestic beauty and depth, which this 2018 Clos de la Grand’Cour, by the legendary Jean-Louis Dutraive, proves with a flourish, silken layers and a heavenly perfume. This estate in Fleurie hand crafts gorgeous artisan wines that absolutely seduce the senses with natural purity and terroir driven character that highlights the unique pink granite soils and warm exposures, they never fail to impress with racy dark fruits, a mix of crushed violets and seeped rose petal, walnut husk and whole bunches crunchiness with this 2018 delivering layers of strawberry, tangy currant, plum and macerated raspberry fruits along with a pop of spice and stemmy savory/earthiness. The textural feel is exceptional in the Clos de la Grand’Cour with rich fruit density, but dreamy almost weightless and delightfully lingering on the finish with everything lifted by natural acidity as well as this Fleurie’s mineral tones. Raj Parr, the famous sommelier, loves to tell the story that in the last century, a barrel of top Fleurie used to get more money than a Chambertin Grand Cru! And this Dutraive goes a long way to explaining that, it is such a great bottle, it is right up with my longtime favorites from Lapierre, Thevenet and Jean Foillard. There is so much excitement in Beaujolais right now, with a new generation pushing the quality level to new heights with the younger Dutraive and Foillard kids being a part of this movement, be sure to check out the recent vintages from Anne-Sophie Dubois, Julien Sunier, Mathieu and Camille Lapierre, Alex Foillard, Charly Thenevet and Jean-Louis’ son Justin Dutraive, naming just a few, to see the region’s bright future.

The Domaine de la Grand’Cour was originally established in back in 1969, in a Summer of love, and the Domaine de la Grand’Cour best holdings are in Fleurie, with what can be considered Grand Cru sites, these consist of three special lieux-dits, the Clos de la Grand’Cour, a Monopole walled vineyard, where this wine came from, Chapelle des Bois and their Champagne parcel, all of which are holistically farmed following methods inspired by the father of Beaujolais’ natural winemaking revolution, Jules Chauvet. Jean-Louis Dutraive, the fifth generation to run this old estate, has used organic grapes since the 1980s and does most all of his Cru bottlings with 100% whole cluster, which gives these, especially the Fleurie Clos de la Grand’Cour, efforts their glorious complexity and a wildly exotic personality. The Dutraive wines ferment naturally with indigenous yeasts, the noted whole cluster, carbonic and see long macerations on the skins, somewhere close to a month, according to the winery, depending on what the vintage gives. 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 this Fleurie Clos de la Grand’Cour, the Fleurie Chapelle des Bois and Dutraive’s Brouilly are sometimes aged partially in stainless, old foudres, larger casks or even cement tanks depending on the vintage. Jean-Louis’ motto in the cellar is what he calls “minimal intervention and maximum surveillance.” This 2018 Clos de la Gand’Cour opens up wonderfully gaining poise and regal quality, adding morello cherry and wild herbs to the medium bodied palate and a much deeper bouquet, in fact this Fleurie got even better on day two, I wish dearly I had more bottles of this rare stuff!
($35 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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