Rare: High Energy Fleurie
2013 Julie Balagny Fleurie:
En Remont & La Grande Rose
If you start in the eastern part of Beaujolais, say somewhere around Clos de la Roilette, and head north you eventually hit Haut Poncie and Julie Balagny's En Remont.
It's from this obscure corner that some of the most beautiful expressions of Fleurie originate.
Julie Balagny is the only person working in this fascinating, fairly high altitude site. Balagny is convinced that En Remont, with its well-exposed, south-facing slopes and fascinating geology, can make first-class Fleurie. With four vintages under her belt, the quality of this site and Balagny's winemaking is undeniable.
She took over the 3.2ha of vines in 2009. Balagny was making wine in Provence and looking to buy land in Beaujolais. It was none other than Yvon Métras who alerted her to En Remont being available. Later, Métras gave her key advice on the ins and outs of vinifying Beaujolais.
Since then Balagny has really caught on. And with only 3.2ha, the wines have become really difficult to find. There are no other listings for La Grande Rose in the country and only two listings for En Remont.
I'm really happy to be offering a decently sized parcel of Balagny's 2013 Fleurie En Remont and La Grande Rose.
These are some of my favorite Beaujolais from the 2013 vintage. It's difficult not to detect a kinship with Métras in the wines' texture and overall expression, but the wines are really their own thing. The alcohol levels are your first indication of the difference: both En Remont and La Grande Rose clock in at 10.7%. Despite their low alcohol, both wines surprise with their sense of intensity and completeness. They are some of the most delightfully nimble expressions of Beaujolais.
En Remont produces a very high energy, piercing expression of Fleurie. Its lightness seems to be the perfect vehicle to transport the floral, dark fruited and stony mineral notes.
Of the two wines, La Grande Rose is more structured and wound up. This is a special sub-parcel bottling of En Remont. When I tasted both side by side, En Remont was the more immediately appealing of the two and La Grande Rose started off shy and grew more and more impressive as the night wore on.
Like much of the eastern section of Fleurie (Roilette, Garants, etc.), in En Remont there's more clay over the granite soils. This is a stony vineyard with some volcanic influence along with quartz and a small amount of manganese. The result is bright, concentrated fruit wrapped around a nervy core with just a touch of the meatiness and grip associated with Moulin-à-Vent and its neighboring vineyards in Fleurie.
I visited Balagny in 2010 and was taken aback by how dynamic and sincere she seemed. I bought all of the 2009 that I could get. It wasn't a ton, but in today's context it seems like mountains of wine. It's really nice to have seen how dedicated she is to this obscure site and how successful the results have been.
Fleurie doesn't get any more expressive or drinkable than Balagny's. They are some of the most compelling and singular expressions of the Cru. Don't miss.
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