Jul 30 , 2015

Tom Kisthart

Domaine Chignard Fleurie

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.