My brain flushed with a recognizably joyous sensation opening a newly arrived case of 2009 Clos de la Roilette Cuvee Tardive. I made a mental note about how the flow of wines from a reportedly great new vintage like 2009 in Beaujolais, where nature’s growing season appears to have supported more consistently reliable fruit and quality wine making across the board, feels like an endless Christmas morning yielding weeks and months of perpetual gifting. If you listen to critics declaring “vintages of the century”, then we wine enthusiasts have been in the midst of a recent string of Christmas-like seasonal releases including 2005 Bordeaux, 2007 Southern Rhone, 2006 Tuscan, and 2008 Willamette wines, as examples. For the most part, nature permitted those regions to kick out better than usual juice priced (except for the Cote du Rhones) somewhere between $35 and $50 a bottle and then moving quickly upwards from there, making it easy to find great wine but challenging to discover comfortable every day drinking price points. Welcome 2009 Beaujolais.
2009 Clos de la Roilette Cuvee Tardive **** $25
I am looking forward to an upcoming, exhaustive ’09 vintage tasting in early December, but this weekend I had the chance to steal a glimpse of the Clos Roilette Cuvee Tardive. It is an old vine Fleurie, crafted by the Couderts and imported by Louis/Dressner selections. I drank most of the bottle on Wednesday evening, left the Vacu Vin pumped bottle half full and sitting at room temperature until Sunday night, and was taken by the vibrancy and resilience of the highlight aromatics, flavors, and mouthfeel that expressed only barely perceptible changes after four days of oxygen contact.
It is a riveting wine that literally pierces your senses. The color is bright/light purple at the edges and almost black in the center of the glass. There is an “edgy” aromatic quality to this wine composed of saline, chlorine, minerals, tobacco leaf, and damp, cold steel. Sandwiched between those immediately apparent aromatics is a hidden fruit core that you need to coax out, that may become more accesible with bottle age, of tart plum and black cherry. The palate attack is super rich, voluptuous, and full; gently and surprisingly coating your mouth full of silky rich plum and cherry flavors as the first dominant sensation, until five seconds later when the acidity grabs the back sides of your tongue, to begin a long and deliciously satisfying finish with more than moderate amounts of heat. The vintage appears to have produced Gamay based wines that are regularly 14%+ alcohol (I do not know the alcohol level in this bottle, but it is on the high side for Beaujolais for sure), and I suspect this finishing heat has something to do with that. It did not bother me too much because this wine is alive and serious in all regards, and can be enjoyed simultaneously for its elegance as well as its brashly charming characteristics. For sure, the acidity and high toned flavors combine with a deep fruit core to make this wine a ruggedly appropriate holiday table food accompaniment. And at $25 a bottle (you can find the wine here), it will not break the bank to insure you pour world class wine for your world class family. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
NOTE: Check wine rating guide at top of page for guidance on star rating scores