Rare, Stunning, High-Tension Fleurie: 2013 Balagny Fleurie Cayenne

Posted by Joe Salamone

Rare, Stunning, High-Tension Fleurie
2013 Balagny Fleurie Cayenne

In 2009 Julie Balagny leased a 3.2 ha parcel in the obscure part of north-eastern Fleurie. Right from the start, it was clear that the wines were special.

After four vintages, I'm totally comfortable saying that Balagny is producing some of the most beautiful expressions of Fleurie.

In fairness, Balagny was given crucial advice that hastened her learning curve. 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.

If Balagny's reputation in this country hasn't caught up with the caliber of wines that she's turning out, it's because of the tiny quantities that are available. As a case in point, these are the only bottles of Cayenne available anywhere in the country.

Despite the small size of Balagny's holding in En Remont, her holdings are very geologically diverse. She divides up the production to try to highlight the diversity of terroir and vine age. Cayenne is a basalt-influenced site of thirty-year-old vines that claw into very hard, rocky earth. Cayenne was the name of a penal colony and Balagny found that site so difficult to work that she named that bottling after it.

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. Cayenne is the most expressive and outright delicious wine of her 2013 range. It carries a tension-filled granite minerality with dark fruits and loads of bright violet notes. For all of its incisiveness, the texture of the wine is beguiling.

Balagny's are some of the top wines coming out of Fleurie. They offer such a beautifully composed and drinkable expression of the cru. I encourage you to stock up because it's doubtful that there will be a second chance at this wine. When it's gone, that's it.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits