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Jul 4, 2012 02:32 PM

2009 Domaine de Robert Fleurie Cuvee Tradition TN

This is my first intro to a real Gamay Beaujolais. I believe Fleurie is a style. Visually it is a thin, very scarlet colored, and easy to see thru. The nose to me comes across as a white wine, like some of the SV blancs i was drinking so much of earlier this year, grass and unripe cherry. I opened the bottle at the same temp I drink reds and my initial pour tasted tart and dry, more mineral than fruit. Austere. All my prejudice of French wine seemed to well up again. I remembered that Gamays are usually drunk cool to chilled and gave he bottle an 20 min ice water chill. Very different taste and feel. Now this is refreshing, and easier to see the appeal. Treated like a white wine, and tart berries and an "umami" flavour that i can't quite identify, but am growing to love, shine. I have a feeling that this is a wine I'm not really ready for. While i am toning down the over ripe fruit in my wine choices, this still seems too severe for me. Maybe in a year or so I'll come back to the other bottle i have and see how my view may have changed

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  1. Fleurie is not a style, it is a place. One of the ten Beaujolais crus, Fleurie is both a town and the larger surrounding environs, located between Chiroubles and Moulin A Vent, two other crus.

    Don't wait longer than a year for the other bottle, in general Fleuries are best drunk fresh.

    Personally, I don't particularly care for the Gamay.

    1. A couple of "corrections," if you don't mind.

      FIRST . . .

      As Frank pointed out, Fleurie is NOT a style, but one of the 10 Cru de Beaujolais appellations, along with (north-to-south) Juliénas, Saint-Amour, Chenas, Mouiln-à-Vent, Chiroubles, Morgon, Réginé, Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. These ten appellations are, taken together, the "top-of-the-line" in terms of Beaujolais appellations, and require very strict adherence to geography, viticultural techniques and yields, as well as production methods.

      Ranked just "below" these Crus is the appellation Beaujolais-Villages, which covers approximately 40 specific villages. The regulations of the Beaujolais-Villages appellation also cover specific geography, viticultural techniques and production methods.

      Below this are the appellations of Beaujolais Supérieur, and Beaujolais itself.

      A *style* of Beaujolais would be, for instance, "Nouveau," in which the wines are produced using the technique of carbonic maceration. Under the regulations of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, you can made a Beaujolais Nouveau, a Beaujolais Supérieur Nouveau, or a Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau . . . but one may NOT produce a Cru de Beaujolais Nouveau wine.

      SECOND . . .

      There is no such thing as "Gamay Beaujolais." This USED to be a varietal name in California before it was understand that the grape was misidentified. Bear with me:

      In the 1960s (and earlier), there were TWO types of "gamay" wines made in California. The first was labeled "Gamay Beaujolais," because (it was thought) it was made from the Gamay grape that was used in France to produce Beaujolais; the second was labeled "Napa Gamay" because, well, it's a gamey grape that's growing up in Napa. Seemed simple enough, right?

      In the 1970s, it was discovered that they got them backwards: the grape known as "Napa Gamay" was, in fact, the grape planted in the French region of Beaujolais, but the grape known as "Gamay Beaujolais" was, in fact, a clone of Pinot Noir.

      This caused the Federal Government to leap into action! The BATF decreed that:

      -- IF you made a varietal wine from the grape known as "Napa Gamay," you could label that wine as
      1. "Napa Gamay." After all, that was the name of the grape.
      2. "Gamay Beaujolais." After all, it really *was* the Gamay grape of Beaujolais, France.
      3. "Gamay," period -- just to avoid any confusion.

      -- IF you made a varietal wine from the grape known as "Gamay Beaujolais," you could label that wine as
      1. "Gamay Beaujolais." After all, that was the name of the grape.
      2. "Pinot Noir." After all, it really *was* a clone of the Pinot Noir grape variety.
      3. "Gamay," period -- just to avoid any confusion.

      Isn't that perfectly clear?

      But in the 1980s, they figured out that the grape known as "Napa Gamay" was not a Gamay grape at all, but rather an obscure French variety named Valdiguié. Today, all varietal wines made from the grape formerly known as "Napa Gamay" must be labeled by its true name, Valdiguié, while all varietal wines made from the grape formerly known as "Gamay Beaujolais" must be labeled Pinot Noir.

      There is precious little of the TRUE Gamay grape planted in California. The real name of the grape used to produce the red wines of Beaujolais, Franc is "Gamay noir au jus blanc."

      THIRD . . .

      If your wine came across as unripe cherries, you may have gotten one of the very few unripe 2009s. Minerality? Yes. Tart, refreshing acidity? Yes. RIPE strawberries and cherries? Absolutely . . .


      1 Reply
      1. re: zin1953

        Thanx for the clarification. I misunderstood some info in my WineBible. I would bet that the wine would be considered just great for those in the know or are familiar with it's profile. I may be immune to its charms.