Fleurie with Teeth: 2010 Dutraive Fleurie Grand’Cour VV

Posted by Joe Salamone

Fleurie with Teeth
2010 Dutraive Fleurie Grand’Cour VV
Upsetting Categories, Impressively

It was impossible not to be curious about Jean-Louis Dutraive. His name popped up again and again during my visits in Beaujolais a couple years ago.

When I asked winemakers, "what other producers do you like?" People like Jean Foillard, Louis-Benoit Desvignes and Julie Balagny all mentioned Dutraive.

At Foillard, where I first heard of Dutraive, I wrote in my tasting book, "Grand Cour Treve?" By the time I got to Julie Balagny, who was just enthusiastic, I knew that I had to try to visit him. I asked Balagny if she could schedule something. She called another Beaujolais winemaker, Yvon Métras, got Dutraive's number, and I was set.

Immediately, I understood all the fuss. Dutraive's were Beaujolais of very impressive, and unsettling, complexity.

That was two years ago and we were lucky enough to be the first to introduce Dutraive's wines to the U.S. Word spread quickly and now Dutraive is being imported, which is a good thing - the wines deserve the attention. The only issue is that we have much less of this wine than last year, and last year's offer sold out in four hours.

The heart and soul of the domaine is their Clos de la Grand'Cour.This is an actual clos (a walled in vineyard). The 8ha clos is also a monopole for Dutraive. His 2010 Fleurie Grand'Cour VV, from 60-70 year old vines, is a very special wine. It's an important wine in the best sense - compelling in its complexity while in many ways standing alone stylistically.

It's Fleurie with muscle. Fleurie is a Beaujolais Cru that's known for being floral and feminine. There's florality, for sure, but there are also teeth to this wine.

Dutraive's 2010 Grand'Cour VV is compelling, and almost unnerving - it doesn't fit into any neat categories that I've created for Fleurie or styles of Beaujolais.

It isn't just Fleurie with teeth. It works in a fuzzy zone: displaying the immediacy of expression of people like Lapierre and Foillard, and yet, showing a grip and polish of people like Daniel Bouland and Desvignes.

Sure, you can find Fleuries with formidable structures along the border with Moulin-à-Vent (think Roilette's Tardive or Vissoux's Garants,) but Dutraive's lacks these wines' meatiness. What's happening here is more delicate.

The structure is on a smaller scale. It's more piercing. The scents of spice, roses and earth are more lifted in Dutraive's Grand'Cour. All of this is complicated by dark berry fruits.

Cast in the purity of the 2010 vintage, the wine's uniqueness is rendered with particular clarity. The vintage showcases the muscular and mineral nature of the wine beautifully. There'll be no problem holding on to bottles for five plus years.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits