2017 Karim Vionnet Fleurie
Region: Fleurie < Beaujolais < France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, super old vines on granite soil; carbonic maceration in fiberglass, 8 months aging in old oak barrels; bottled unfined/unfiltered with 10ppm added SO2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Karim Vionnet
Born in Lyon to Arabic parents, Karim was adopted by a family in Morgon. His first career was a baker but eventually fell into wine, as one does in this region, and got the natural wine bug by working as a vineyard-hand and winemaker for some of the OG natty wine dudes like Guy Breton and Marcel Lapierre. Technically a negociant (like many of our producers who don't own any vineyards) Karim is responsible for the organic farming and vinification of 5 hectares of plots around Beaujolais, mostly old-ish vines (40- to 60-year-old).
He makes a bunch of different Gamay cuvees, all with carbonic maceration, that are insanely good (and sought after). This is Karim’s Cru Fleurie, one of his two top cuvees that get some old wood aging, and it is clean, classic, grapey Gamay goodness with an elegant edge. 2017 was a warm vintage, so you get juicy red fruit, soft, supple tannins and an almost Pinot Noir-like density, with a rich, satisfying hint of coffee and cocoa on the finish. When in doubt about which wine to bring (that everyone will dig), go Gamay from Beaujolais preferably, like this clean, all-purpose holiday crowd pleaser. #gamay4eva