The modern-day Beaujolais narrative goes something like this: young vigneron takes over family’s gnarled old Gamay vines/ inspired by the Gang of Four, sharpens his or her winemaking tools/ turns out luscious, characterful reds that redefine the way we think of the area’s wines.
While 35-year old Anne-Sophie Dubois has certainly been part of the new generation paving the way forward for the region, she doesn’t fit entirely into that box. An outsider (she was raised in Champagne and earned her chops in Volnay), Dubois was able to secure her own 20 contiguous acres of granite-laced vineyards in Fleurie and began vinifying her Cru bottlings in a way more similar to her pals in the Côte d’Or than to many of her new neighbors. That is, she rejected carbonic maceration as the sine qua non of quality Beaujolais. And her wines have turned more than a few heads.
Dubois farms organically, encouraging the growth of grasses between rows, mulching with cut shoots from dormant pruning and using the occasional organic compost. Her vines are between 40 and 60 years old, planted at high density, which further limits yields, driving up the flavor content in her grapes. She harvests by hand and uses no pumps, making wine according to the Jayer method—an approach that includes destemming instead of using whole bunches—with indigenous yeasts. Her wines exude the telltale qualities of Fleurie—perfume, crunchy fruit and cool mineral tones—yet also express more earth and tannic structure. They are, for lack of a better term, more Burgundian.
variety: gamay soil type: granite avg vine age: 40 years
The vines destined for Anne-Sophie’s L’Alchimiste cuvée are planted on southwest-facing slopes. After fermentation, the must is gravity-fed into a wooden vertical press and aged on the fine lees partly in old oak casks and partly in barriques that are between 3 and 7 years old. Bottled without fining or filtration