By Lauren Loeffler
Every year around Thanksgiving, your local wine haunt undoubtedly has at least a small display boasting “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrive!” This lets you know the calendar has struck the fourth Thursday in November, and that you’re already behind on holiday shopping. The nouveau is a fun tradition and a crowd favorite; but, when it comes to holiday wine selections, it’s worth your while to take a look at its elegant, older sister: Cru Beaujolais.
Beaujolais is a French AOC wine primarily made up of the Gamay grape. Chardonnay is also produced in the region, though only accounts for about 1% of the total production. Cru Beaujoalis is the highest designation in the region, and refers to wine production within ten villages: Brouilly, Régnié, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Sant-Amour, Chénas, Juliénas, Morgon, and Moulin-à-Vent. Cru Beaujolais allows Gamay to shine and mature like the delicious varietal it is. Contrary to the nouveau, which is meant to be consumed in short order, wines from these Crus are serious wines that are often worthy of aging.
One such bottling is Domaine Chignard Fleurie “Les Moriers,” 2012 vintage. Fleurie tends to be a very elegant expression of Gamay, sometimes referred to as the “Queen” of Beaujolais. It pours a lovely light color and emits aromas of cherry, rose, and violet. The body is light, bright, and exhibits dark cherry, plum, and ripe berry flavors, tied together with a pleasant acidity and a smooth finish. This wine is perfectly lovely already, but should age with grace.
All ten Crus are worth exploring and experimenting – it would make a wonderful comparison tasting! These wines are very easily paired with a wide range of foods, making them great to serve at your holiday dinners, or to take along when you’re invited to a dinner party or gathering.