3 hours ago
Unicorn? Read the fine print. Jean-Louis Dutraive likes to play in the cellar. In 2016, after the devastation by way of a mega hailstorm, he had to find other options after losing 90% of his estate fruit. The biggest production of the year for him was the organically farmed grapes he purchased from a very high elevation site in his hometown, simply labeled, Fleurie. He made his standard bottling of this wine from various aging vats (stainless steel, concrete, barrels, foudres, etc.) and there was a low quantity of it bottled without sulfur, the latter bottling demarcated by the words in faint print on the side of the label, “SANS SOUFRE AJOUTÉ,”—which means, WITHOUT SULFUR ADDED. Then there was an even more rare version: the one in this picture. As you can barely make out, it says above SANS SOUFRE AJOUTÉ in even more fine print, “Fût de chêne,” and has a red wax capsule—the other two are with black foil. This is the rarity I found out about over dinner with J. Louis long after we had already purchased and received our 2016 allocation for the year. He and his family bottled this wine for their curiosity to see which would be more appealing: the regular with sulfur; the sulfur free version of the regular one; or this wine, bottled (directly, I believe) from wine aged only in old barrels with no sulfur added. I’ve had the fortune to drink this trio numerous times and they’re all good, but my favorite (at least since I first tasted them) is by far this one. Every bottle that I’ve had was as compelling a young wine as I could ever want. It’s a monumental achievement of purity, lightness and incredible depth of complexity. I begged for some and we were given five cases of the Fût de chêne bottling. There was no way to cut this up in any fair way, so we gave them away as gifts one bottle at a time to J. Louis’ biggest supporting buyers in our market. So there are a few bottles to be found out there and you’d be lucky to have a glass of this very special wine.