I visited the Clos de la Roilette, which is located on Alain Coudert’s tiny ancestral property where I was treated like a King. It helped that his Quebec based agent Remy Charest from Les Vieux Garçons, had pointed me in his direction and gave them a heads-up I was on my way.
Inter Beaujolais provided me with this excursion, but this tasting was taken on personal time – and was it ever time well spent. I huffed my way to his Fleurie location, which is almost in the shadow of iconic wind mill that is the namesake of the neighbouring Cru, Moulin-à-Vent. Armed with a heavy metal rental bike, and a vague sense of direction I pedalled 23 kilometers from Belleville sur Saône through Morgon along back roads, to his very welcoming home and vineyard. We tasted our way through a four variations of his robust Fleurie wines until we hit the daddy of them all. The 2011 Domaine Coudert Clos de la Roilette Cuvée Tardive is a Platinum Record wine. BTW, Jancis Robinson raves about it here: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a20121026.html
The Cuvée Tardive title may be a little confusing. If you translate literally to English, you may think this is a late harvest wine. It isn’t. It is a fancy way of saying old vines, and is a less used term than the convention French term: Vieilles Vignes. Speaking to French wine nomenclature, his wines are allowed to use the term clos, which refers to a specific enclosure even though he does not have a vineyard defined by stone enclosure. Historically, the family property had a stable which lead to fenced-in corral. The fenced in corral is long gone, but when grape vines were planted over the defunct corral, they were allowed to continue to use “Clos.”
Visually as dark a Beaujolais you will ever see, the nose is clean red berries. Into the gulp you have acid and a buffet of berries; red, black and blue followed by chiselled tannins. Chiselled tannins from Fleurie? You must think I am crazy. Yes I am but, that does not change the fact that the Domaine Coudert Clos de la Roilette Cuvée Tardive is an atypical Fleurie to say the least. Alain Coudert is confident this wine can continue to improve for six to eight years. My flavour descriptors are a little vague, but just wait a few years and see where they develop.
Being atypical makes the Clos de Roilette standout, but it has value well beyond those of simply being an anomally. This is a hand carved piece of art from a humble master. Get some.
Musical Match: This wine is great now, and will only get better. Have a little faith in me. John Hiatt Made the same statement with his track by the same name. Hiatt is an unsung master, whose music only gets better with time. The song is deep, and satisfying, reassuring, atypical and familiar at the same time. The rasp in his voice represents the tannins working in unison with beautiful bojo/ballad tune. Procure. Enjoy.
Special thanks to Inter Beaujolais for providing all transportation, hotels, meals and access to the wonderful wine and winemakers of the Beaujolais wine region of France during a four day tour. The wine discussed in this blog entry was tasted during that promotional tour.