2014dutraivefleurie2014 Jean Louis Dutraive-Domaine de la Grand Cour, Fleurie Cru Beaujolais, Clos de la Grand Cour, France.
A huge shout out to Rachel Kerswell (The Source Imports) and Hayley Johnson (Schatzi Wines) who put on the fabulous Boire Beaujolais in San Francisco, an industry event focusing on the importance and special nature of this very underrated region (and grape) that is on the rise again through a new generation of winemakers and providing a showcase into the differing style of wines, be it semi-carbonic or Burgundy/traditional. The event started with a panel discussion on the merits of Gamay and Beaujolais with a set of wines both carbonic and non-carbonic fermented, it was a serious look into how and why, it was a huge eye-opening revelation into a topic I thought I knew, bravo to panelists writer/journalist Jordan Mackay, winemaker at Oregon’s Bow & Arrow Scott Frank (producer of some of America’s best Gamay wines), Christie Default of the Culinary Academy and Raj Parr, super Somm and winemaker at Sandhi, Domaine de la Cote and Evening Land (Who always loves Gamay and helps make many different versions for himself and others). Understanding the terroir, fermentation and history of Beaujolais and it’s traditions gives great insight, and learning the story of Gamay is key to seeing this grape in a new and exciting light, even though I’ve always loved Cru Beaujolais, it was like falling in love all over again. Some of the world’s most important bio-dynamic and natural wines come from Beaujolais and this area of rare decomposed granite soils and beautiful hills, especially this Domaine de la Grand Cour Fleurie Clos de la Grand Cour, which was a favorite from the event, thanks again to Rachel Kerswell of the Source Imports for digging out of her personal cellar, and in magnum! The Domaine de la Grand Cour by Jean Louis Dutraive Fleurie 2014 is a gorgeous wine, beautiful in detail, heavenly textured with life and length that really sets it apart from most of it’s peers, as Fleurie goes no question this is the best I can remember, and I love Foillard’s so that is saying something on a personal level, this wine reaches true greatness on the same level as Grand Cru Burgundy, it’s like a delicate version of Musigny! Wonderfully perfumed, complex and emotional the 2014 Dutraive Clos de la Grand Cour Fleurie is poised, stylish and flowing with a medium body, silken tannins and vibrant acidity showing remarkable persistence with glorious mixed flowers, racy red fruits, a sexy spiciness with subtle earth, mineral and wood notes, it is seamless and pure from start to finish. Layers of satiny black cherry, mixed berry, red juicy plum, strawberry, rose petal, cinnamon stick, cedar/walnut, saline/stony elements, a hint of cran-apple and tangy currant that lingers on with dried violets, anise and bitter herb. This is wildly seductive Gamay and a rare treat, 2014 was a near perfect vintage, giving classic flavors and briskness of acidity, this should age a few decades no problem, and while this might be hard to find, it is really the Holly Grail for Fleurie, and I can’t wait for the 2015 a really ripe year, similar to Beaujolais’ great 2009 vintage, which is looking exotic and hedonistic in the few early releases, in particular wines from the Morgon side of the region. Viva la Gamay and Cru Beaujolais, there’s never been a better or more exciting time to explore this region and these wines, from basic Village level to the famed Crus of St. Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-a-Vent, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Regnie, Morgon and like this wine’s home Fleurie.
($34 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

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