Monday, August 06, 2007

The Beaujolais Challenge - Fleurie

Fleurie is one of the big shots of Beaujolais. Not because of its size, and it is one of the larger Beaujolais Crus, but because of its reputation for highly perfumed and delicious wines. Not surprisingly, wine from Fleurie tend to be a bit more expensive than wines from some of the other lesser known Crus. But there are wonderful values in Fleurie , particularly when you consider that you're talking about $22 or $23 for the most expensive bottle, and more like $17-20 for a typical bottle.

We in the US have more choice as consumers when shopping for Fleurie, more than when we look for Regnie, for example. Some Fleurie producers whose bottles you are likely to see if you go to your good wine shop: Roilette (the one with the cool label featuring the horse's head), Chignard, Despres, Terres Dorees, and Vissoux, whose wine I tasted recently.

Some people like to cellar wines from Fleurie, along with Moulin-a-Vent, Morgon, and Julienas. I will admit that I have never aged a Beaujolais wine. I'm sure that there are wines that improve with bottle age, and I I hope to taste a couple of examples soon. It's just that Beaujolais is about easy going times and picnics for me, and I don't associate that with the cellar. I like to drink Beaujolais the way we did the other night - chilled with some tasty food on our deck, enjoying the breeze, not thinking too hard.

2005 Domaine du Vissoux Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Poncie, $19 (Chambers Street Wines). I really LOVE the 2005 Beaujolais from Vissoux, and I remember Senor Asimov writing that he really liked their Fleurie, so I was excited to taste this wine. We had a simple dinner of chicken thighs and a salad with red beets and cucumbers - perfect for Beaujolais. This wine was quite dark and dense in color, and aromas of raspberry and flowers immediately soared from the glass. There was an undertone of soil and a bit of dried banana on the nose too.

On the palate, though, the wine was a bit flabby and out of focus. Pleasant and tasty - yes. But without energy. I remember drinking the Descombes Regnie a little while ago, and one of the things I now understand (I drink, I learn...) that I loved about that wine was its energy. It felt like it was moving on the tongue. 30 minutes of air time did not bring an energy boost for the Vissoux. Of course, Asimov decanted his and gave it 2 or 3 hours before drinking. After that it held its own with a Fourrier Morey St Denis! I should have decanted, I guess.

It was certainly good wine and we enjoyed it with our dinner. But for $19 I'll take the Regnie every time, or if I'm having company for dinner, I'll throw in another $7 and buy 2 bottles of the Vissoux Beaujolais, instead of this more expensive Cru.


Joe said...

Morgons are the only ones I have yet tasted that are cellar-worthy, but I will admit the breadth of my experience now pales to your excellent Beaujolais series. Many thanks for this - I will be looking for some of these, and report back when I find 'em.

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Joe - please don't be fooled. I have tasted just a few wines in most of the Crus, and none at all in others. That was the real inspiration behind this project - I want to taste the wine.

Joe said...

Unfortunately I have too many inspirations, too much work, and only one liver...

Brooklynguy said...

i hear that.