£19.50, Tanners; £21.11, Quality Wines Somerset
Fleurie is supposed to be the most perfumed of the 10 Beaujolais Crus and this wine couldn't be a better illustration. Fragrant roses and violets gives way to wonderfully pure, fresh, transparent fruit on the palate – all wild strawberries, raspberries and darker berries – shaped and wrapped by tannins of gossamer finesse.
The ethereal touch belies the intensity of flavour, which comes from 50-year-old vines, the terroir, sustainable growing, low yields and, not least, sensitive, minimal-intervention winemaking by Mathieu Mélinand, whose father Jean-Jacques ('JJ') founded Domaine des Marrans in 1970. Mathieu took over in 2009, after making wine in Australia and New Zealand.
The vines lie at 300m in very stony soils on pink granite in the lieu-dit of Champagne, which is towards the south of Fleurie. Vinification is traditional with a 13-day, whole bunch, semi-carbonic maceration, no added yeast and ageing in large, old oak barrels for 15 months. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Like all good Cru Beaujolais, it's flexible with food, going with everything from steak, duck and coq au vin to tuna, salmon and vegetables. I challenged it with chicken livers (sautéd with onion, anchovy, tomato, capers, olives, rose harissa and port) and with pasta with pesto and it sailed along with both. Vegan. 13%. Empty bottle: 572g
Domaine des Marrans Fleurie Lieu-dit 'Champagne' 2019, Fleurie, Beaujolais, France