DOMAINE JOLIET FIXIN 1ER CRU ‘CLOS DE LA PERRIERE’ 2018 6 PACK
The Clos de la Perriere in Fixin, founded by the Cistercians in 1142, is a walled-in vineyard that the monks way-back-when knew made an exceptional wine.
That the monks knew this back in the Middle Ages is not, in itself, extraordinary. They had time, and plenty of ‘ora et labora’.
And as they came to know where the best vineyards were, they put walls around them. That's the meaning of the word 'clos': enclosed.
There are lots of vineyards called ‘clos de something-or-other’ in Burgundy. The best known of course is the Clos de Vougeot. But where the Clos de la Perriere is different, unique even, is that it has never been divided up. There is one sole owner.
In the 1855 classification, the Clos de la Perrière was named ‘tete de cuvee’, the same as almost all of the present-day grand cru vineyards. Two years previous, the Joliet family bought the Clos, and it has been in their family ever since, for six generations, with Benigne Joliet at the helm today. At the time, 'grand cru' did not have the same commercial clout it has today. And because taking the higher classification meant higher land taxes to pay, the family forewent the 'grand cru' when the modern classifications were made, and the Clos was classified 'premier cru'.
Benigne Joliet has been battling his entire life to get this resolved. He knows that the Clos de la Perriere has a grand cru quality. And he is fighting to have it recognized as such, both with the AOC people and in the cellar.
I have had the pleasure of tasting this wine in its component parts, 4 Cuvees from the four parcels inside the walls. Benigne Joliet presented it dramatically. Cuvee #4, the oldest vines from the parcel the furthest to the north was alive, like only wine from well-tended vines can be alive. Depth and density. Cuvee #2, the youngest vines, gives vivacity, a bright acidity over soft tannins. Cuvee #1 from the parcel the furthest south, and hence the earliest harvested, gives you the fruit, a big burst of fruit. And Cuvee #3, from the edge of the wall near the forest at the top of the vineyard gives the bottom, the edge, the tannin.
But like four notes in a chord, when Benigne blended together the approximate assemblage that would be 2018 Clos de la Perriere, the wine sang. Bright, peppery, alive, with big yet subtle fruit and a long, long finish.
And now here it is, bottled and ready to go. Fixin 1er Cru 'Clos de la Perrière' 2018
Take a 6 bottle case for $774
Fixin 1er Cru ‘Clos de la Perriere’ from Domain Joliet. Unique. Undiscovered.
Grand Cru credentials.
Greatness that goes back nearly 900 years!