Marc Delienne: a new star in the Fleurie firmament

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Marc Delienne quit a job in Paris to pursue his long-standing passion for wine professionally, purchasing the Château de l’Abbeye Saint Laurent d’Arpayé in the village of Fleurie after a stint under the tutelage of Eloi Durbach of the Domaine de Trévallon. He produced his inaugural vintage in 2015, and his two cuvées are very impressive indeed. The winemaking is simple: organically cultivated grapes are fermented without chaptalization or destemming, followed by élevage in foudre, concrete tanks and old Trévallon barrels. The wines are bottled without racking, fining or filtration with low levels of sulphur. As the notes below attest, I was really impressed by his debut vintage.

The 2015 Avalanche de Printemps bottling was fermented in concrete with semi-carbonic maceration and raised in concrete and stainless steel. An expressive and dramatic bouquet of raspberry, rose petal, plum, subtle orange zest dusky spice introduce a supple, intense wine with lovely balance, texture and inner-mouth perfume through the penetrating, sapid finish. While definitely marked by the richness and concentration of this warm vintage Delinne has found a nice equilibrium here, expressing the character of the year without letting it dominate the qualities of Fleurie. A star is born! 93/100

The 2015 Abbaye Road bottling from Marc Delienne was aged in a combination of Stockinger foudres and old barrels. Its bouquet reveals aromas of ripe cherry, raspberry, top notes of dusky violet and wood smoke, and just a touch of volatility too. On the palate the wine is a bit more tight-knit and structured than the Avalanche de Printemps bottling, with a deep core, full-bodied palate impression with lovely balance and restraint for the year. While the wine’s slight volatility (by no means uncommon in the 2015 Beaujolais vintage) does integrate into its bouquet after a brief decant, it is depressing my score a touch, as in terms of raw materials and aging potential this wine is in many respects a step up over its unabashedly delicious, exuberant sibling-bottling. A very promising debut from Marc Delienne. 91+/100

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