Year in and year out, Clos de la Roilette produces one of my favorite red wines and the new release is as good as ever. I drank my first bottle of the new vintage just last week, and all I can say is that I’m absolutely in love with this wine. It’s charming, it’s joyful, it loves the flavors and the feel of fall, and it’s our new Wine of the Weeks. All I can say is come and get some before I drink it all!
Let’s get one thing straight, this is about as close to Beaujolais Nouveau as wild salmon is to fish sticks. Don’t get me wrong, I love good Nouveau, but this is not that. Alain Coudert’s vineyards are old and situated on east-facing slopes on the border with Moulin-a-Vent. In the 1920’s when the Fleurie appellation was created, the previous owner was infuriated with losing the Moulin-a-Vent designation under which the clos had previously been designated. He created a label, using a photo of his racehorse Roilette, and used the name Clos de la Roilette, without making any mention of Fleurie. He refused to sell any of his wine to the French market and sold his entire production to Switzerland and Germany. True story and it’s a good one, but it gets better.
By the mid 1960’s the original owner’s heirs had lost interest in the property and the vineyards were in a terrible state. In 1967, Francois Coudert bought the estate and replanted the vineyards, and his son Alain joined him in 1984. These days, Alain runs the estate and makes the wines and there’s no question that they are one of the leading estate’s in the greater Beaujolais region. Both father and son agree that their terroir (clay and manganese) and the age of their vines (30+ years old) account for the richness of their wines. Nearly purple in color, this is a darker fruited Beaujolais (a la Moulin-a-Vent) that displays ripe notes of black cherry, creme de cassis, damp earth, mineral and a hint of nuttiness on the finish. That may sound like a “heavy” wine, but that’s not the case at all; it is a wine that possesses assertive flavors, but remains light, fresh, and way too easy to drink. It also ages incredibly well — with 5 to 7 years, it begins to taste like a really good Pinot Noir.
Feel free to “fact check” me on this one………I don’t just make this stuff up. This is the perfect wine for those who love Pinot Noir/Burgundy, but don’t love to pay the exorbitant prices that those wines often demand. I’ve got about 10 cases to sell and when it’s gone, that’s it for Clos de la Roilette this year. I can’t recommend this wine highly enough and I invite you to stop by the store and pick some up. You can also email me or call me at 828.505.8588 and we’ll put some aside for you. Happy fall and happy drinking and eating in Asheville!