I’ve been handed the Burgundy List reigns for one express reason: to pontificate a set of wines that every Burgundy drinker should not be without, Alain Coudert’s iconic Clos de la Roilette.
Most of you are familiar with how much we adore these wines. But I wanted to bring special attention to how much our own Burgundy buyer, the man who pens this list himself, loves Roilette. Yes, that’s right, the king of Burgundy, Ian Halbert, has publicly admitted: “As a wine professional, I often field questions about what I drink at home on a Wednesday night. More often than not it is Beaujolais; most often it is Coudert’s Clos de la Roilette.” Just to really emphasize the point here, if Ian isn’t drinking Burgundy he’s drinking Roillette.
So Burgundy List readers, do you see why I think you should be all in on this?
Today we have Coudert’s two most precious and rare bottlings: the 2017 cuvée Tardive and, even more special, the hugely rare 2016 "Griffe du Marquis". Roilette’s Cuvée Tardive is dense, sweet, meaty and dark–Mr. Coudert’s rapturous expression of Beaujolais as anti-nouveau. Born from two parcels that are at least eighty years old, situated between Fleurie and Moulin-a-vent, Coudert’s Tardive is indisputably one of Beaujolais most age-worthy bottles.
By far the smallest production of all Roilette wines, the “Griffe du Marquis” is born from the same parcels as the Tardive but is aged in 2 to 8 year old barrique Burgundy barrels. Why does Coudert do this? The aging in barrique allows for more oxygen exchange, ultimately producing a wine that is ready sooner than his Cuvée Tardive. Always beautifully rich, appealingly sweet, impeccably focused, this wine remains hedonistically reserved and walks the fine line between too much and not enough. Also, not to be overshadowed, you should strongly consider the outstanding “regular” 2017 Clos de la Roilette, the best antidote to make your Wednesday’s great again.
I’ll leave you by saying that 2016 and 2017 are critically acclaimed and hugely important vintages for Beaujolais. 2016 is one of classical charm and vivid energy, while 2017, similar to 2014 and 2011, is one of freshness, length and terrific fruit. That should speak for itself on how good these bottles will be.
2017 A. Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette
30-40 years old vines. Semi-carbonic maceration with submerged cap, temperature control and native yeasts, then aged in large oak foudres.
2017 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie “Cuvée Tardive”
“The 2017 Fleurie Cuvée Tardive reveals a deeper, richer bouquet of dark cherries, red fruit compote, quince and rose petal. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, ample and lavish, with a deep, concentrated core and rich structuring tannins. This is a decidedly serious Fleurie, its name alluding to its aging potential and not to a later harvest, and it will demand 3 or 4 years of cellaring at a minimum.” 93 Points, Wine Advocate
2016 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie “Griffe du Marquis”
“The 2016 Griffe du Marquis bottling was really showing beautifully at the time of my visit. The concentrated, sappy aspect to the fruit of the 2016 vintage here has absolutely devoured the oak impression of the wine and this characteristic augurs very, very well for the evolution of this fine young wine! The nose jumps from the glass in a vibrant blend of sweet cassis, black cherries, raw cocoa, gamebird, a lovely base of soil tones, a nice touch of vanillin oak and a pungent topnote of violets. On the palate the wine is pure, full and quite primary, but with lovely sappiness at the core, plenty of soil signature, fine-grained, seamless tannins and excellent length and grip on the perfectly balanced and youthfully complex finish. This is going to be excellent as well.” 93 Points, John Gilman