Considered one of the most admired producers in Fleurie, Clos de la Roilette, in the village of Fleurie, covers nine hectares of one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. The clos has an eastern exposure, borders the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, and produces wines that are beautiful when young and have the capacity to age for over 10 years.
In the 20’s, when the Fleurie appellation was first created, the former landowner was infuriated with losing the Moulin-à-Vent appellation under which the clos had previously been classified. He created a label, using a photograph of his racehorse Roilette, and used the name Clos de la Roilette, without mentioning Fleurie. By the mid-1960s, the owner’s heirs had lost interest in the clos and a large portion of the land had gone wild and untended. In 1967, Fernand Coudert bought this poorly maintained estate, and replanted the vineyards. His son Alain joined him in 1984, and has been the winemaker since.
The Couderts say their particular terroir (mainly clay and manganese), and the age of their vines (25 to 33 years-old) account for the richness of their wine. It has a deep color with a hint of purple, a restrained nose of crème de cassis, a rich, full mouth with aromas of cassis, black cherries, and a nutty character, and finishes with zesty acidity. This is a wine that ages gracefully and takes on the aromatic character of a Pinot Noir.
Notes of leather, wood smoke, and forest floor mingling with the ripe cherry and raspberry in the nose signal that something more complex and mysterious is under foot than you will experience in all but a tiny fraction of Gamay-based wine. Generous juiciness on the palate is allied to a slightly grainy, palpable sense of extract and fine-grained tannin, while notes of toasted nut, raw beef, moss, and wet stones well up and add complexity to the wine’s long finish.