Fleurie with Teeth
2012 Dutraive Fleurie
Clos de la Grand’Cour VV
When I was in Beaujolais three or four years ago, Dutraive's name came up again and again.
And when I tasted the wines, I immediately understood all the fuss.
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 as 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.
In short, Dutraive's are gorgeous, singular Fleuries. They're a don't miss for Beaujolais fans.
The 2012 vintage homes right in on what makes Dutraive so special. The vintage is just that pure and perfectly concentrated.
We introduced Dutraive's wines to the market with the 09 vintage. Much has changed since then: the wines are now distributed more widely, Dutraive's stature in the U.S. has grown considerably. This is all very good. Dutraive is an absolutely fascinating expression of Fleurie and just flat-out compelling.
Dutraive's Fleurie Grand’Cour VV is Fleurie with muscle. Think Fleurie by way of Gevrey. Fleurie is known for being feminine and floral, and there's florality for sure. To that, though, add a dose of brawn. Think of it as Fleurie with teeth.
Sure, you can find Fleuries with formidable structures along the border with Moulin-à-Vent (think Roilette's Tardive or Vissoux's Garants.) Dutraive's lack 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.
Dutraive has vines throughout Fleurie and some in Bouilly, but the domaine's heart and soul is their Clos de la Grand'Cour. This is an actual 8ha clos (a walled in vineyard) and a monopole for Dutraive. The VV comes from 60-70 year old vines here.
Like Burgundy, 2012 in Beaujolais was a painfully short vintage. The quantities are such that many of the 2012 Beaujolais will disappear from the market very quickly. The only good news is that the little that 2012 produced is really good. There's good ripeness, good brightness and really nice clarity. 2012 seems to share the best of 2010 and 2011 and kicks the concentration up a notch.
Dutraive's Clos de la Grand'Cour VV is especially pure and drinkable in 2012. It's likely the most gulpable version of the wine that I've tasted. And that makes it so much sadder that quantities are so low. It's best to jump on this now.
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