Menu
Cart 0

Wine — Beaujolais

Domaine Chignard Fleurie

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

Most of the best Beaujolais comes from what are called the 10 crus of Beaujolais. The term cru translates into 'growth' but think of it like a small area or village. You typically won't even see the term 'Beaujolais' on the label of one of these wines but instead the cru which it comes from. Cru Beaujolais often has very little in common to their more generic counterparts besides sharing the same grape variety: Gamay. The best wines made in one of the 10 Crus will have more in common with Burgundy proper to the north (Beaujolais is considered part of Burgundy). 

Fleurie is often described as producing the most feminine wines out of the crus. Yet, right to the northeast of Fleurie sits the cru of Moulin-à-Vent, which is said to produce some of the region's sturdiest, most masculine wines. The lovely producer Domaine Chignard has their main vineyard, Les Moriers, running directly into Moulin-à-Vent. The vines in this vineyard are on average over 60 years old so their extensive root stocks run deep into the granite soil imparting greater structure and (in my opinion, although it's debated) minerality into the wine.

When you taste their principle wine Domaine Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers it has the beautiful floral nose you would expect of Fleurie but on the palate the wine is much sturdier than you would think. There is something else fascinating about the nose, perhaps a whiff of potting soil that is sometimes associated with the much more illustrious Burgundy village of Chambolle-Musigny whose entry level wines sell for three times this price of this gem.

 I've said it before, the cru of Beaujolais are not only phenomenal wines, they're undervalued wines. Given that the prices are already too low for what they are when distributors come with additional deals on these wines, I jump on them. I know what I'll be drinking on Sunday afternoons especially once we get into the fall.

 

Buying Top Beaujolais is Theft

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

If I had to choose one type of wine to drink for the rest of my life, without a doubt it would be Beaujolais. I'm not talking about that bubble gum banana juice stuff that the French dump on us every year around Thanksgiving (say 'no' to Nouveau). What I'm talking about are some of the purest, most beautiful, most alive, exotically perfumed wines you will ever come across. They are Beaujolais but will have names of the village they come from on the label like Moulin-à-Vent or Morgon. 

The man credited with developing the quality Beaujolais market in America is the famous importer Kermit Lynch. The man credited for suppressing prices of quality Beaujolais by promoting the hell out of Beaujolais Nouveau causing consumer confusion into thinking that all Beaujolais is something sickly is named...I won't name names but I think you know who I'm talking about. The point is this consumer confusion benefits the people in the know by enabling us to buy wines that in all honesty should be priced many times higher than what they sell for.

Kermit Lynch is known for importing a group of Beaujolais producers which came to be known as the 'Gang of Four'. This 'gang' consists of Lapierre, Foillard, Thévenet & Breton. Here is a great description from the Kermit Lynch website on what united this group "[they] called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and refusing both chaptalization and filtration." Their guiding star was a legend in the region, a man named Jules Chauvet, who made wine himself but whose main mark was left imparting his philosophies to other producers of the region. Because of this movement and because of the mentioned suppression of prices we are fortunate to be able to scoop up some of the best wines made anywhere for $40 and under.

I work closely with the distributor of most of these wines so whatever is not available in the store I can easily special order with no minimums.

We currently have one of the best wines I've tasted this year: Jean Foillard Morgon 'Cote de Py'. This magical slope (pronounced: coat duh pee) produces some of the greatest wines of the area that can be dense yet with endless finesse. The grapes for this cuvée come from vines that are up to 90 years old. Soon we will also carry Foillard's "Cuvée Corcelette" 2013 but in the meantime it can be special ordered for $39.99.

Also in the store: 2012 Jean-Paul Thévenet Morgon "Vieilles Vignes" which is of a bigger and even cloudier style. These are the last remaining 3 bottles available, the 2013s have arrived with the distributor. We can special order magnums of their Morgon "Vieilles Vignes" for $69.99.

Guy Breton is most known for making a Morgon and another village called Régnié. The Régnié typically costs slightly less than the Morgon and I (and others I know) typically find it just a bit more special. Only their 2012 Morgon ($34.99) is available for special order at the moment as their 2013s are set to arrive.

Email Tom@craftcurd.com if you have any questions or would like to special order any of these wines. Another tip: maybe it's a personal thing but these wines just seem to taste the best on a nice Sunday afternoon.

All wines mentioned are very limited in quantity so subject to availability and price changes.