In a nutshell: Elegant, floral and aromatic, a great example of a Beaujolais Cru.
The lowdown: Fleurie is one of the best known and most popular of the 10 Beaujolais Crus villages. The wines from here are known for their light character and gentle nature. The the vines used for this are between 40 and 90 years old and the grapes are hand-picked and whole-berry fermented in the carbonic maceration style used throughout Beaujolais. The first press wine was left in vat for 8 months before bottling. It has a heady perfume of freshly picked irises which drift above the crushed berry fruit nose. The nicely ripe tannins and fresh acidity support a palate of that has flavours of morello cherries and bitter dark chocolate, rather reminiscent of a Black Forest Gâteau.
When to drink: A very pleasing all-rounder. With all the ripe red berry freshness of the Gamay grape its flavours stand up well to spicy and gamey foods.
The story of Boutinot's route to wine making is a bit different to many others in both what they do and how they go about it. As well as growing and making their own wines in France and South Africa they work with a multitude of other producers across the world in putting together good value wines that hit the right spot in the market. And over the years their skill and expertise has built them an excellent reputation.
Things started back in 1980 when Paul Boutinot, who was in charge of sourcing wines for his father's restaurants, disappointed at the quality of wines then available in the UK went to France to look for better quality wines at better prices. This led, in 1989, to him blending his own wines in France and, in 1993, to producing specially sourced wines from South Africa. Over the years they've built on this and whilst still a major distributor of agency wines they now produce wines on their own account in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, USA, France and Spain. While there are many great producers of top quality premium wines around Boutinot's focus unfailingly falls on making value for money wines that don't compromise on quality and time has shown how good they are at it.