Bottled only a week before I tasted it, Alain Coudert's 2019 Fleurie from the Clos de la Roilette is showing beautifully, wafting from the glass with aromas of rose petals, red cherries, raspberries, spices and orange rind. Medium to full-bodied, deep and velvety, it's elegant and fine-boned, with lively acids, refined structuring tannins and a long, perfumed finish. Readers who gravitate toward classical styles of Beaujolais will prefer the 2019 to the richer, more gourmand 2018, but both are lovely vintages for this reference-point address. As I've written before, the Coudert family acquired Fleurie's famous Clos de la Roilette—which neighbors Moulin-à-Vent formerly traded under that name—in 1967, and Alain has been at the helm since 1991. The soils here are rich in clay and manganese, and that, combined with a classical approach to maceration, results in muscular, structured wines that age very well. Vinified largely with whole clusters and the traditional submerged cap, these are typically deeply colored wines with plenty of fruit and tannin. The 2019 vintage has turned out especially well, and it's the most overtly Fleurie-styled vintage—in the sense that this appellation is identified with perfume and finesse—that Coudert has produced in a decade. If the gourmand generosity and wealth of fruit of 2018 will win the domaine new friends, then the fragrant and beautifully balanced 2019 will exercise special appeal over Beaujolais purists.(WK)
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