The queen of the Beaujolais crus
Lovingly tended by 150 winegrowers, the Fleurie appellation gets its lightness from being sheltered by the Avenas, Durbize and Labourons range. The Fleurie vineyards back on to this particular massif and grow in sandy soil formed by the decomposition of pink granite. It’s this very specific terroir that gives the wine its delicate, elegant robe and its floral notes, which is why it is called a “feminine wine”.
Nevertheless, different Fleurie wines have very distinctive flavors and, depending on where the vines are grown, some crus are more full-bodied than others. The iris, violet and peach notes intensify the bouquet and guarantee a fleshy structure.
Although the name Fleurie sounds rather feminine too, it has nothing to do with nature. The name of this appellation comes from a Roman legionnaire called Florus, who was said to have set up home on one of the hills above the vines. There is no actual historical proof of this but what does that matter when legends are often more fascinating than reality...
A unique landscape for growing Fleurie wines
A quick geology lesson to tell you about the unique landscape where Fleurie vines grow. At the end of the Tertiary Era, an exceptional tectonic and magmatic event changed the landscape forever. The land was thrust upwards and hills formed across the Beaujolais region that were shaped over the years by erosion.
La Madone stands at the highest point of these valleys at 425 meters above sea level. This magnificent statue is the landmark for the Fleurie vines, which grow from the south-eastern side of the hill up to the Madone chapel.
These slopes with a 50% gradient (yes, really) offer superb vistas over the area where the crus are grown. It’s a wonderful place to watch the sun rise in all its radiance and set over the Chiroubles vines in the west.
Delicate and elegant flavours
Fleurie wines have a certain softness when you compare them to other Beaujolais appellations. However, it’s difficult to find just one description for all the bottles produced in this particular wine-growing area.
The terroir is 90% slowly eroding pink granite soils that are slowly being eroded. This uneven decomposition, along with differences in soil depth produces wines that are unique and different from one year to the next. On granite soil, the Gamay grape produces powerful and deeply colored wines.
Compare for example a Roilette with a Grille-Midi. You’ll notice considerable differences in character. The first grows on more granitic soil than the second and connoisseurs therefore expect a more powerful bouquet. That doesn’t actually make it a better wine, just a cru to drink in different circumstances.
Generally speaking, the attack of a Fleurie in the mouth is frank, the acidity is low and the tannins are gentle. These particular Beaujolais wines have good roundness on the palate, and are just as good as aperitifs or with red and white meat. Or why not even serve a succulent andouillette (chitterling sausage) cooked in Beaujolais!
Fleurie is a great wine grown in vineyards that are great to visit! Its qualities mainly derive from its outstanding location, sheltered from the elements. The terroir also plays its part in the fruity, floral flavors… But be wary of the myth that they are always feminine wines. Not only do women like the more distinguished crus but Fleurie also comes in many varieties that can have a delicate bouquet or a full-bodied structure. The best idea is to come and try it where it is grown while enjoying the nature and greenery of the Beaujolais region.