Alain Coudert is considered one of the finest producers in the Beaujolais. The Clos de la Roilette, a lieu-dit in the village of Fleurie, covers nine hectares of one of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. The domaine sits on the border with the Moulin-a-Vent appellation. The soils here are atypically rich in clay (25% as opposed to the rest of the appellation which is all granite) and manganese. This clay is only found in a 50 hectare radius, and the result is a more structured wine, somewhere between a "typical" Fleurie (floral and elegant) and a Moulin-à-Vent (structured and muscular). Alain vinifies in a more Fleurie style, because he is looking for freshness and fruit. The resulting wines are richly coloured, perfumed and intense; powerful and velvety with zesty acidity. With bottle age they would not be out of place alongside bottles from the Côte de Nuits.
When the Fleurie appellation was first created in the 1920s the previous landowner was so incensed at having to loose the Moulin-à-Vent appellation (as the Clos was previously classified) he created a label using a photograph of his racehorse Roilette and used the name Clos de la Roilette, without mentioning Fleurie. This meant he wasn’t allowed to sell a drop to the French market and the production went to Switzerland, Germany and England.
By the mid-1960s, the owner’s heirs had lost interest in Roilette, and a large portion of the land had been allowed to go untended and wild. In 1967, Fernand Coudert bought this poorly maintained estate and replanted the vineyards. Alain, his son, joined him in 1984.
Coudert works sustainably according to lutte raisonnée practises. As a large part of Roilette is heavy in clay it makes any mechanical work next to impossible. The soils are worked manually about twice a year, but only superficially because Alain is concerned he would rip the vines right out of the ground otherwise (especially the really old parcels). The idea of passing a tractor through the 80 year old vines that make the "Cuvée Tardive", is just impossible! Vinification is the traditional, semi-carbonic Beaujolais style with élevage in foudres.