Tardive on Tip Toes
2010 Roilette Fleurie Griffe du Marquis
Roilette's Epic New Bottling
"The Clos de la Roilette is the greatest estate that I am familiar with in the commune of Fleurie" -John Gilman
This is, for sure, high praise. Though, to be honest, I don't think it does Alain Coudert's Clos de la Roilette justice.
They are very special wines. If I had to reduce my Beaujolais buying to a single producer, it would undoubtedly be Clos de la Roilette.
Roilette's wines are some of the most profound and ageworthy Beaujolais around. The 1999 Cuvée Tardive remains the best Beaujolais I've ever drunk by a long shot.
For Beaujolais fanatics, I doubt any of this is controversial. I imagine that it may even seem trite. After all, Roilette is one of Beaujolais' few cult producers. Their Tardive bottling is spoken of with awe, with the tones of a wine that has created its own category.
The intense and impressive 2009 vintage brought with it news of a new cuvée, Griffe du Marquis, that would contend with Tardive for the spot at the top of Roilette's strong line-up. Griffe du Marquis is a later release and by last summer word was quickly spreading that the Griffe du Marquis was one of the wines of the vintage.
Just on paper, there was plenty to be excited about. The source of Griffe du Marquis is the same two parcels of eighty-year-old vines bordering Moulin-à-Vent that go into Tardive. The only difference is that Griffe du Marquis spends time in old Burgundy barrels instead of the foudre that Tardive is briefly aged in.
The small amount of the wine that arrived in the States last fall was, indeed, awesome. It was also practically non-existent. Our allocation was gone in under 24 hours. It soon became a "ghost" wine. People talked about how great it was, and yet, finding a bottle was nearly impossible.
Griffe du Marquis is every bit as exciting a rendition of Fleurie and Beaujolais as Tardive. This is to say, it's a benchmark. And this year, we're happy to say that we were able to plan ahead and secure enough of the 2010 to offer to wider audience. Quantities are still small, so if you're interested in going deep, which is a good move, we suggest replying ASAP.
To cut to the chase, 2010 Griffe du Marquis is a gorgeous bottle of wine. Compared to the 2010 Tardive, it's more lifted and elegant. It's a touch more accessible than the forebodingly structured and dense Tardive. You can think of it as an extroverted Tardive walking on tip toes.
There's also a layered clarity to it as bright cherry fruit gives way to flowers and a savory, meaty minerality. The 2010 vintage has suffered greatly in the shadow of the hyped 2009 vintage. I think that the best Beaujolais of 2010 will make us regret not paying more attention to the vintage. 2010 Griffe du Marquis shows why. There's plenty of concentration, but there's a snap, an energy and a brilliance to the wine that's just lovely.
Griffe du Marquis is a wine that demands some space in your cellar. It's that impressive. It's only on its second vintage, so there's no track record for aging. With that said, I expect this to easily see its eighth birthday.
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