The best recommendations always come by word of mouth and Dominique and Christiane Lacondemine at Domaine Les Roches Bleues were recommended to us by our Trophy-winning winemakers in Fleurie, Jean-Marc and Maryse Desprès.
Domaine les Roches Bleues is chiselled into the blue granite of the Mont de Brouilly and the view from here is spectacular. The first thing that you notice about this eight-hectare domaine, besides its delightfully lofty aspect, is that everything is immaculate and neatly kept. This is very reassuring, as great winemaking is very much about attention to detail, cleanliness and hygiene. It will be no surprise then that the wines from this domaine are the epitome of great Beaujolais.
The soils here, on what was once a volcano – thankfully now dormant – are a complex mix of granite, blue diorite and schist. The large bluish rocks that cover the surface of the vineyard aid drainage and heat exposure – and of course they give the domaine its name. It is here that the ancient Gamay vines, some of them over 80 years old, make the most of their sunny place, achieving wonderful ripeness year on year. As a consequence of this excellent terroir, the wines can be the most powerful and complex of all the Cru Beaujolais.
The real secret behind the fresh grape fruitiness of Beaujolais lies in the way the grapes are fermented – a technique called macération carbonique. The activity of enzymes inside whole grapes when they are surrounded by carbon dioxide causes an internal fermentation and the extraction of colour and flavour from the inner skin. The earliest the fermentation can be stopped and the wine sold as nouveau is in November but Cru Beaujolais is kept in the vats much longer. Our wine is bottled in the May following the harvest and is aged for a further year in bottle before being released.