Jules Desjourneys Fleurie 2007

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RP:Duperray’s 2007 Fleurie – pure Moriers – displays game and underbrush along with narcissus-like musky florality on the nose. Smoky black tea, meat stock, and a maritime mingling of salinity and alkalinity add further complexity on a palate whose ripe fresh black fruits come off as practically an afterthought. This relatively lean but profound Fleurie of only, exactly 12% alcohol (!) needs time in the air due to its still being a bit reduced, which Duperray attributes to his intentions that customers should keep hands off these 2007s for a bit longer, but which he also thinks is accentuated by his use of a specially selected, high-elevation-grown one-Euro “precautionary” cork. Speaking of which, after a very low-sulfur upbringing, Duperray’s 2007s received 36 grams of total sulfur at bottling, ending up with around 13 grams free. Fabien Duperray is an agent within Europe for wines from some of France’s most prestigious Cote d’Or growers. Due to that notoriety, when he dared to fulfill in Beaujolais his wine growing dreams (“One day I was offered a parcel of Les Moriers that was as steep as Cote Rotie and I couldn’t resist – now it’s my passion,” he relates), Duperray invented the domaine name Jules Desjourneys. There’s a story behind the name, but I won’t go into it here. The big story is some of the most remarkable Beaujolais wines of my experience, and perhaps ever rendered (granted that only the two inaugural cuvees, from 2007 had been bottled prior to my June visit). From a former warehouse just off the main highway that runs east of the Beaujolais crus – retrofitted with the assistance of his friend Christophe Perrot-Minot –Duperray is organically farming vines on steep slopes at yields low by Cote d’Or standards – forget those prevailing in Beaujolais! “I have 18 pickers and 18 people sorting the fruit at two tables,” he claims. “In 2009 I was the first in my appellations to pick – around one week before any of the other growers – and in 2008 I was the last.” Whole clusters are subjected to one month of fermentation with occasional, gentle foot-treading; malo is late – retarded by a cooling system – and the wines are bottled without fining or filtration after a minimum of 18 months in barrel and 23 months of total elevage. Production from 2009 will average around 350-400 cases per cuvee (significantly less than of the two 2008 vintage Fleuries, since the same acreage was split over three cuvees). Duperray says his oenologue reports never in 25 years having seen Gamay colored like Grenache – until he met the Desjourneys 2009 musts, which however came in at only around 13.5% potential alcohol. Yet more remarkably, even at 26 hectoliters per hectare and with late harvest, the 2008s weigh in at a mere 12.2-12.4 finished alcohol! And for all of their richness – as well as in several instances their tannic structure – these wines never lack freshness, “even,” as Duperray points out, “in a very warm vintage” like 2009, adding that “perhaps this is a bit of the secret of Gamay.” Provided one has the secret for treating it his way, I can only add! Without track record or indeed precedent, I am not about to prognosticate about the age-ability of these wines except to suggest that any of them will almost certainly merit following for half a dozen years from bottle, and I would not be surprised if they were still terrific a decade from now.”

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