In our gray and rather leafless backyards, Camellias can provide color during these dog days of winter. But for a reminder of bursting Azaleas and the fresh greenery of springtime, I like to think Beaujolais! I’m not talking about the catch-all variety, but rather the 10 village wines that represent Beaujolais at its best. I sampled two of these extraordinary “cru” Beaujolais recently. The first was a 2015 Morgon “Cote du Py” by Jean Foilllard. This immensely rich and satisfying wine is actually too big to really be enjoyed tonight. If you’ve never tasted a Beaujolais (Gamay grape) that was more like a young, backward Burgundy (Pinot Noir), then this wine would fit the bill. It’s at least a future 90-point beauty, ($35 srp) but needs to be cellared for 2-3 more years.
On the other hand, a Fleurie from Anne-Sophie Dubois (“l’Alchimiste”), was an absolute joy right now. Fleurie is one of the lighter village crus in a “normal” year, but in the hot, very ripe 2015 vintage, this wine has additional oomph and a texture like velvet. I don’t know if it’s “alchemy,” but this wine’s worth a special search — a great way to taste the possibilities of this southerly landscape.
2015 Fleurie l’Alchemiste, Anne Sophie Dubois $25
Deep purple, lightening to fuchsia, in color. An overt, flowery nose with raspberry, strawberry and banana elements. It’s rounded and well-integrated – almost plummy, with leather and woodsy elements adding complexity. Flavors are deeply satisfying, with substantial body suggesting a berry compote and almost “meatiness” on its rich finish. Perfect for a roast chicken, grilled pork loin or a mushroom/onion quiche. Drink now-2019.