Yohan Lardy, Fleurie "Le Vivier"
Yohan Lardy, Fleurie "Le Vivier"

Yohan Lardy, Fleurie "Le Vivier"

Beaujolais, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$39.00

Yohan Lardy, Fleurie "Le Vivier"

Though he’s only been at it for ten years, Yohan Lardy is already comfortable standing side by side with some of the greats in his home region of Beaujolais. Yes, at the hippest wine bars of Paris, Lyon, New York, LA and so on his wines are right there next to Lapierre, Metras, Foillard and the rest of the original masters of Cru Beaujolais. Yes, he’s talented, but he also works very hard and perhaps most importantly he’s madly in love with his special, granite dominated terroir. So it wasn’t a surprise that the latest vintage of his old vines Fleurie “Les Viviers” blew us away in a recent tasting lineup. A masterclass in the convergence of flowers, fruit, and rock that has a characteristically Chambolle-like perfume but is pure Gamay energy on the palette. Yohan’s wines are getting harder to find thanks to his well-earned success, but we managed to score a nice little stash. This is a perfect red for all the holiday celebrations and dinners, and it will also age beautifully over the coming decade.

Astute readers of our Daily Discoveries would likely ascertain that Fleurie (Morgon gets an honorable mention) is probably our favorite Cru at SommSelect. Here, all of our favorite aspects of Gamay—high-toned florality, vibrant complexity, and sinewy elegance—are cranked into overdrive. It’s no mystery that Fleurie is considered “the Queen of Beaujolais.” Granite soils, sheltering mountain ranges, and the moderating influence of southerly Mediterranean winds all prevent Fleurie from being wallopped by heat as the burlier Crus can often be. Beaujolais has been one of the most exciting, dynamic regions in the wine world for going on 20 years now, and Fleurie is where much of the change happens. Although once obscure, a whole host of producers here—from Sunier to Clos de la Roilette to Dutraive—can now be found in the cellars of the most elite restaurants in Paris and New York. And Yohan Lardy is right there with them!

Yohan is the fifth generation of the Lardy family to grow grapes in Beaujolais, but the first to bottle it under his surname. He’s a young upstart in a region full of them, having only established his domaine in 2012 with the purchase of 100-year-old Gamay vines in Moulin-à-Vent. Now, he farms just over eight hectares spread across Moulin, Fleurie, and Chénas. He works as all the best producers in the Crus do: whole clusters are given semi-carbonic maceration then fermented without any sulfur additions, and aging takes place in neutral wood for a year. The results are beautifully clean yet naturally unbridled expressions of Gamay in its most chiseled and detailed form.

I would definitely serve Yohan’s 2022 Fleurie “Le Vivier” with a slight chill, around 55-60 degrees, out of Burgundy stems. It pours a vivid violet, with red-pink hues at the rim, and before you even lift the glass to your nose it’s leaping out at you. Think violets, potpourri, iris, pomegranate, sweet cherry, boysenberry, star anise, cinnamon, and hints of paprika. The palate is sappy and loaded with sweet red berry fruit, and medium-plus acidity carries the ripeness through to a long and mineral-laden finish. The tannins are present but sneaky, providing a nice little frame to the fruit, and combined with the acidity will ensure that this wine ages gracefully for many years. Both complex and deeply refreshing, this bottle demands to be drunk with abandon. It has enough energy and lift to serve with simple hors d'oeuvres at a party, but is structured and complex enough for richly flavored meals like the Lyonnaise classic, poulet au vinaigre. Drink up!

Yohan Lardy, Fleurie "Le Vivier"

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