Clos de la Roilette
- Fleurie, Beaujolais, France
Alain Coudert’s Clos de la Roilette is a longtime favorite Fleurie producer whose wines should not be overshadowed by newer, more faddish names.”
—Eric Asimov, The New York Times, April 2016
Thank you to importer Louis/Dressner for this profile:
(Click here for more Roilette insight on LDM's website)
The Clos de la Roilette, a lieu-dit 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 5-10 years, depending on the vintage.
In the 1920’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. The owner vowed not to sell a drop of his wine on the French market and the production went to Switzerland, Germany and England.
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 account for the richness of their wine. It has a deep blackcurrant 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.
With the 1998 vintage, the Couderts introduced a new wine, "Cuvée Christal" (recently renamed "Cuvée Christie") which is lighter and meant to drink younger. A few years later, they started a selection of old vines cuvée. They call this "Cuvée Tardive", meaning that it needs more aging time and has even greater longevity than the regular Fleurie cuvée. Finally, the most recent addition is a wine called "La Griffe du Marquis", made from the same old vines that produce "Cuvée Tardive" but vinified and aged exclusively in Burgundian barrels.