Rare Old-Vine Fleurie: Yvon Métras Magnums

Posted by CrushWine

Super-Rare Métras Magnums
2006 Yvon Métras Fleurie "VV"
The Fifth Member of Kermit Lynch's Gang of Four

Yvon Métras is famous for making absolutely breathtaking Beaujolais and hating paper work. As such, his wines have been absent from the U.S. market for over a decade.

Despite this absence, Métras' wines have achieved a cult-like status in the very geekiest of wine circles. Drop a seasoned wine geek in Paris and he or she is likely to seek out some of the oddities that only Paris accumulates: Foillard Cuvée "3.14," Dagueneau Asteroid and Métras, to name but a few.

Today we present an offer for the love of it. Suffice it to say that $63 Beaujolais magnums are not the easiest of sells. (Though with 24 of these mags available in the world, perhaps this is not the issue.)

This is revelatory Beaujolais. Métras' grand old-vine Fleurie is a weighty, meaty red that placed on the table with some of the best reds from the Côte d'Or, would likely turn some heads. The style is one of concentration and elegance with a complex spectrum of red and purple fruits, flowers, and minerals.

Yet it's the breed, the richness that so obviously sets the wine apart from the majority of Beaujolais, that no matter the concentration, feel insubstantial. Métras somehow achieves a bit of the fugitive perfumes and elegance of Chambolle and the meaty savoriness of Nuits St. Georges - think of a gentler version of Chevillon.

This is a game-changing wine that transcends the appellation and yet, express the terroir's signature in a nearly Platonic sense. As serious as this wine is, as Burgundian as it may be, all the classic traits of Fleurie are present as well: The feminine grace, the complex florality, and dark minerality.

Fleurie's silken texture and sophisticated balance has earned it the status of "the Queen of Beaujolais" - few are more stately than Métras' Fleurie.

The vines for Métras' Fleurie VV are 65- to 80-years-old with some of the vines having seen a century of being rooted in Fleurie's sandy granite soils. Even in Beaujolais, home of extraordinary old vines, these are old. Métras' vines inhabit some of Fleurie's best lieux-dits, Grille-Midi and La Madone where grapes bask in perfect sun exposure. Métras is known for taking risks with late harvesting and bringing in pristinely ripe fruit. Macerations at Métras can last up to a month, which is longer than usual and even longer than his "Gang of Four" pals (see below). The latter has to at least partially explain the added richness and dimension of his wines.

The greatest misfortune of the 2006 Beaujolais vintage was that it came after the heralded 2005s. With four years development, however, the vintage is finally being appreciated for its ample fruit and brisk acids. 2006 is a fruit-lead vintage with great freshness - perfectly suited to Fleurie's exuberant florality and Métras' tense fleshy style.

A small bit of context here is probably appropriate - the history of Beaujolais in the 20th Century is complicated. Métras is often thought of as the fifth member of the "Gang of Four," importer Kermit Lynch's Beaujolais group consisting of Lapierre, Foillard, Thevenet and Breton. These were the pioneers of Beaujolais who sought to create wines in the most natural and expressive way possible. In fact, Lynch briefly imported Métras as well. Under the influence of Jules Chauvet, who is generally thought to be the father of the natural wine movement, these growers tried to counter the trend towards industrial winemaking in Beaujolais: The use of commercial, aromatic-specific yeasts (the source of the infamous banana scents!), over-cropping and chaptalization, intense filtration and sulphur use to say nothing of the devastating use of pesticides.

Métras and the Gang of Four, in contrast, pursued nearly organic viticulture, fermented ripe fruit with natural yeasts and used minimal to no sulphur. In short, under Chauvet's wing they returned the soul to the wines of Beaujolais.

Quantities are ludicrously small - all orders are subject to confirmation. To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2006 Métras Fleurie "VV"

Metras is pre-arrival
NET | No further discount