Domaine Coudert

  • Country

    France

  • Region

    Fleurie, Beaujolais

  • Founded

  • Farming

    Lutte Raisonnée

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.

William Kelly, The Wine Advocate, May 2020

Alain Coudert is considered one of the finest producers in the Beaujolais. The Clos de la Roilette, a lieu-dit in the village of Fleurie, covers nine hectares of one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus.The domaine sits next door to Domaine de la Grand’Cour on the border with the Moulin-a-Vent appellation. The soils here are atypically rich in clay (25% as opposed to the rest of the appellation which is all granite) and manganese. This clay is only found in a 50 hectare radius, and the result is a more structured wine, somewhere between a “typical” Fleurie (floral and elegant) and a Moulin-à-Vent (structured and muscular). Alain vinifies in a more Fleurie style, because he is looking for freshness and fruit. The resulting wines are richly coloured, perfumed and intense; powerful and velvety with zesty acidity. With bottle age they would not be out of place alongside bottles from the Côte de Nuits.

When the Fleurie appellation was first created in the 1920s the previous landowner was so incensed at having to loose the Moulin-à-Vent appellation (as the Clos was previously classified) he created a label using a photograph of his racehorse Roilette and used the name Clos de la Roilette, without mentioning Fleurie. This meant he wasn’t allowed to sell a drop to the French market and the production went to Switzerland, Germany and England.

By the mid-1960s, the owner’s heirs had lost interest in Roilette, and a large portion of the land had been allowed to go untended and wild. In 1967, Fernand Coudert bought this poorly maintained estate and replanted the vineyards. Alain, his son, joined him in 1984.

“Alain Coudert’s Clos de la Roilette is a longtime favorite Fleurie producer whose wines should not be overshadowed by newer, more faddish names.” 
Eric Asimov, The New York Times, April 2016

Coudert works sustainably according to lutte raisonnée practises. As a large part of Roilette is heavy in clay it makes any mechanical work next to impossible. The soils are worked manually about twice a year, but only superficially because Alain is concerned he would rip the vines right out of the ground otherwise (especially the really old parcels). The idea of passing a tractor through the 80 year old vines that make the “Cuvée Tardive”, is just impossible! Vinification is the traditional, semi-carbonic Beaujolais style with élevage in foudres. 

“…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.”

William Kelley, The Wine Advocate, May 2020

Fleurie Clos de la Roilette 2019:

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. 94 pts.

William Kelly, The Wine Advocate, May 2020