2011 Henry Fessy Fleurie “Château des Labourons” Beaujolais Cru
90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
This Fleurie reveals a very pleasant nose of red fruits as well as floral notes. In the mouth, the red fruit gives the wine a certain richness. It has a surprising sweetness and its tannins are fine and elegant.
Suggested food pairings
Roasted chicken, grilled meats and cheese.
Lying on homogeneous soils of granite containing large crystals, Fleurie is often regarded as the “Queen of Beaujolais”. The wines are characterized by abounding finesse and elegance with floral aromas of irises and violets.
Traditional vinification with controlled temperature.
Louis Latour is one of the premier wineries in the world founded in 1797. As part of its grand plan to own and produce high quality Cru Beaujolais in all ten Crus (they currently cover nine), Louis Latour acquired Henry Fessy in 2008. The Fessy family is still involved in production. The winery has two 100% estate, single vineyards – Château des Reyssiers in Régnie and Château des Labourons in Fleurie.
The vineyard is a spectacular site at the top of the Fleurie appellation. The vines are more than 50 years old. The wine ages in neutral oak for 10 months.
With age Cru Beaujolais loses the “tutti-frutti” and bubble gum qualities of youthful gamay and develops more like a fine Pinot Noir in Burgundy. Unlike Beaujolais Nouveau which is produced via carbonic maceration, Fessy Cru Beaujolais is made in the traditional method, just like a cru Burgundy. With age, this wine shows layers of depth and nuance. The dark, ripe currants and black cherry lead the way with aromas of plum, tobacco, and walnut. This wine is a steal of a deal. If you love aged Pinot Noir, you’ll love this wine too.
Varietal: 100% Gamay
Appellation: Fleurie - Cru du Beaujolais
Estate vines: 5 ha
Average Vine Age: 50 years
Soil composition: Granite with crystals
Density of Vines: 9000 vines/ha
Average yield: 40-50 hl/ha
Serving temperature: 14-15°C
Included in the Box
4x 2011 Henry Fessy Fleurie “Château des Labourons” Beaujolais Cru
12x 2011 Henry Fessy Fleurie “Château des Labourons” Beaujolais Cru
Since 1888 the Fessy family has been based in the heart of the Brouilly appellation of Beaujolais, France. Over the years they have purchased choice parcels of vineyards in most of the 10 Crus and the Beaujolais-Villages appellations to create the enviable domaine that they have today of nearly 70 hectares of prime vineyards. Work in the vineyards is carried out with sensitivity and intelligence and they only intervene when necessary. This philosophy allows them to produce highly complex wines which express a real sense of place and origin. They offer the full range of Beaujolais wines from their own vineyards each expressing their own unique terroir. Experience, tradition, respect and an in-depth knowledge of the Beaujolais vineyards go hand in hand-making Henry Fessy a respected quality-driven Domaine.
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Got a UPS notification and email from Arianna last night telling me there was a bottle on the way and that it was for tonight’s offer. Always up to the task, we patiently waited while UPS came within a block of our house and then proceeded to drive farther away for another 4 hours. The wine arrived a bit warm to the touch (it’s HOT in Los Angeles today), so into the fridge it went.
A couple hours later we popped it open to begin, slightly cooler than room temperature. Lord knows you need a glass (or more) of wine at the end of the day when you’ve got two kids under 4 in the time of covid.
Obviously Beaujolais isn’t known for wines that age because of the phenomenon of Beaujolais Nouveau. But this isn’t a nouveau or even a village-level wine, this is one of the Beaujolais Crus - Fleurie - and these wines can be as interesting as any other. A quick look at the back of the bottle and it looks like this is also from our friends at Louis Latour. I guess they’re cleaning out some library wines?
As for my tastes here, I quite like Beaujolais Crus. Some of them can be very “cunchy” like they’re full of sticks and others can be insipid fruit bombs. I much prefer the former to the latter. If any of you have had it, the Pavillon des Chavannes Cuvée des Ambassades is a perennial favourite.
Appearance: With a wine getting toward ten years of age you never know if it’s starting to show any signs of oxidation. Good news - the rim remains clear and the wine is a nice deep purple-red, although there are the beginnings of brickish hints.
Aromas: Bright cherries, some fresh plum, hints of mint, flowers, and a touch of earth. The fruit aromas have a sweet quality to them, but not so far as to call them candied. There’s also a distinct herbal aroma that comes out more when swirling, while leaving the wine alone lets the fruit and flowers come out more. I wouldn’t have guessed from the aromas that this was getting on ten years old.
Flavours: This is where the additional age comes through a bit more. The fruit is slightly muted and the other flavours are more in the front, at least shortly after the bottle was opened. That suits my tastes just fine. To be clear, there is still plenty of fruit here: raspberries, cranberry, and hints of cherry. It’s there alongside a minerally streak, and some earthiness. I don’t get much in the way of herbaceousness. The wine is medium bodied, like a good Pinot Noir. In some ways this tastes like a light Pinot Noir from sunny CA more than a rustic Beaujolais.
Finish: The expected mixture of the aromas and flavours. The sweet cherry notes are most prominent again, but the lighter red fruits are clearly present. The finish is long and tends toward sweet fruity esters (NOT sugar).
While we’re going to have this with bison burgers later, right now it’s small human feeding time and string cheese was out, so I tried a sample with that. It brought out more of the sappy flavours and made the wine a touch sharp. Interesting.
Cut to a couple hours later, and we’ve got bison burgers ready to go and the kids finally down for the night. The wine did ok with the burgers - it didn’t really enhance the food, but the food cut down the fruitiness of the wine.
By the end of the bottle we decided it had gotten rather one-note, and to me that note was strawberry-cherry. Odd that we didn’t pick up on the strawberry earlier, but so it goes.
Seeing the pricing, I have a hard time imagining this trades for $35 in reality, but $15 for this is certainly a good price and another ~23% off at the case price is a very nice value. You could easily serve this to a bunch of friends or at a party (if those are ever allowed again) and almost all would enjoy it.
@klezman This is from Louis Latour, not Henry Fessy? Or is Fessy a subsidiary brand of Latour? I’ve bought some Fessy Beaujolais before, but don’t recall it saying Latour anywhere. I guess I’m off to Google.
Well, it only took me a minute to decide I’m in. I love a good Beaujolais. Although I’ve only bought Fleurie once before, I think, I seem to remember what I bought developing some darker, almost chocolatey notes at about this age. Doesn’t sound like @klezman got anything quite like that, though. At this price though, I find it hard to believe I’ll be unhappy with it, even if it’s not as good as the Brouilly I usually prefer.
Oddly, I opened up a 2009 Memoire de Madone Gamay sur Volcan 100% Gamay last night. I was surprised by its fresheness and wonderful flavor, lots of bright red fruits, strawberry and cherry. This wine did not show its age. Also, “I don’t like French (old world) wines”! But I sure did like this wine! I’m in.
90 Points.Cellar Selection
This is a ripe and juicy wine, full of cherry fruit, that also has a sense of structure. It has tannins that promise some aging as well as the natural fruitiness of Beaujolais. Keep this generous wine for at least two years. RV 8/1/13
Note this review lists the suggested retail as $22
A clear red wine, bright ruby at the core to pink at the rim with moderate viscosity. On the nose it is “clean” with some major indications of brettanomyces but with vigorous swirling the barnyard notes dissipate and a waft of dried cranberry, red plum, smoke and spice push through. On the palate it is dry with moderate tannins, medium+ acidity, medium body and a moderate length finish. The descriptors may not sound all that enticing but I actually found this wine to be quite intriguing. This wine sells for $18. 2/15
@netcommsyn@rmf917 Beaujolais arrived today and is in my office in Boston, not far from Quincy Market. Let me know if still interested in a split and I will set bottles aside. email is wegravesjr at gmail dot com
@TheOther1 Only tried one nouveau; really didn’t like it, but maybe an acquired taste. Cru Beaujolais really a different deal. But, also very different. First botte we had, we thought, well that was different, and not bad, but trying to figure out what we really thought. Much lighter. But to help evaluate whether to get this offer, I pulled another one (same house and vintage as the first one we tried); we had it with spaghetti and red sauce / meatballs. That was supposedly a good pairing due to Beaujolais high acid. We really liked it. So, got a case of this.