Want a Reminder of Springtime? Think Beaujolais!

Want a Reminder of Springtime? Think Beaujolais!

This wine is worth a special search

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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.

90/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.