La Reine de l'Arenite, meaning 'Queen of the Arenite' refers to the terroir of pinky, crumbly sandstone of the La Madone vineyards, rated as one of the best vineyards in Fleurie. At up to 450m altitude and with soils still untouched by phylloxera, goblet trained vines on the east and south east facing vineyards lie below the Chapel of the Madonna at the top of the hill. Gamay Noir vines range from 40 to 90 years of age. Grapes are hand-picked and whole-berry fermented for 8-10 days (traditional maceration carbonique) followed by a further 2 or 3 days on the skins to assist with aromas. No use of cultured yeasts. Pressed after an 8-10 day cuvaison. First press wine was returned to vat and left for 8 months before bottling.
Very pretty indeed, a heady perfume of freshly picked irises and peonies drifts above the crushed berry fruit nose. Ripe tannins and fresh acidity support a palate of Morello cherries, strawberries with wonderful savoury finish.
In winter, match with a roast leg of lamb. During the summer, chill lightly and serve with roasted or barbecued chicken or pork.
Sommelier Wine Awards 2017