One of the stars of the Beaujolais natural wine scene is Domaine de la Grand’Cour, which is owned by the Dutraive family. Jean-Louis Dutraive established the reputation of this domaine, and has recently handed over to his three children after retiring two years ago: Ophélie, Justin and Lucas. I visited with Lucas.
The Famille Dutraive is a negociant operation that began in 2016 after they lost 90% of the domaine crop with a combination of frost and hail. These wines are, like the domaine wines, made naturally, working with friends who are farming organically in St Amour, Chiroubles, Chenas and Beaujolais Villages.
Lucas’ grandfather bought the domaine, based in Fleurie, in 1969, and Jean-Louis began farming organically in 2007. They have 9.7 hectares in Fleurie in three lieux dits: Clos de la Grand Cour (a 6.5 hectare clos), Chapelle des Bois and Champagne.
They also have some vines in Brouilly (1.8 ha), which is where Lucas’ grandfather came from. Lucas recently spent 7 months in New Zealand working at Bell Hill and Rippon, and has returned to join the family domaine.
In Chapelle de Bois they replanted some of the vines five years ago. Lucas says it’s important to maintain the same density of 10 000 vines per hectare because otherwise Gamay can over-produce, so as they have increased the row size they’ve planted the vines closer together in the row.
In terms of winemaking, they use carbonic maceration for all the wines. Add carbon dioxide and then the juice at the bottom begins fermenting and protects the grapes. Then they decide by taste as to how long to allow the maceration to continue before pressing, after which fermentation continues off the skins.
Famille Dutraive Cap Sur Le Blanc 2021 Vin de France
12.5% alcohol. Grapes from Leynes, close to Saint-Amour. One year in barrel after barrel fermentation. No added sulfites. Lovely intensity here: there’s a salty, mineral edge and some nice apple and lemon notes, with a spicy acid line, a touch of volatility (but not too much) and a sense of vitality. So interesting. 92/100
Famille Dutraive Beaujolais Villages Lantignié 2022
13% alcohol. Grower is Anaïs Pertuizet. Third year in conversion to organics. Whole cluster infusion, around 10 days. 10 ppm sulfites added at bottling. So elegant and fine with sweet cherries and strawberries. Light-coloured with silky fruit and amazing purity. Such precision with a sweet core to the fruit. This is so elegant and textural, and light but with real presence. 95/100
Famille Dutraive Chiroubles Lieu Dit Javernand 2022
13% alcohol. Nice density here: spicy and lively with sweet cherries and plums and nice silkiness. There’s a bit of spicy structure with some strawberry and raspberry, showing nice presence and good acidity. This is walking slightly on the wild side, but not straying over the line. 93/100
Domaine de la Grand’Cour Brouilly Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2022
13% alcohol. This is from a plot with more clay and some limestone. Lovely intensity and purity here with fresh red cherries and plums, with nice acidity, and a good structure. I really like the acid line which is fresh and supports the bright raspberry fruit. Such finesse and purity, and quite a bit of structure in this vintage. Has elegance but also weight. 94/100
Domaine de la Grand’Cour Chapelle des Bois 2022
13.5% alcohol. Three week maceration here. Lovely aromatics: floral red cherries and raspberries with nice sweet strawberry notes, too. Super-elegant palate with lovely supple, silky cherry and raspberry fruit, showing a hint of pepper as well as red cherries. Pure, refined and delicious. This is light but concentrated with real beauty and finesse. Such refinement. 96/100
Domaine de la Grand’Cour Le Clos de la Grand Cour 2022
14% alcohol. This year they had three tanks, which they press and put together. One part ages in foudre, one part in barrel and one part in tank. Such lovely aromatics: red cherries, spices, redcurrants and black pepper. The palate has nice sweetness and density with a sweet acid line, some fine tannins and nice weight. Fruity and vital with raspberry, cherry and spice as well as a long sweet acid finish. 94/100
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