Domaine Chignard, Fleurie Cédric Chignard
Before this trip I had only tried one Chignard, a 2009 IIRC, and I liked it very much. So I was keen to try more. Chignard's vines are right on the border of Moulin-à-Vent – and since Moulin-à-Vent is generally considered the most tannic Cru, it might be a partial explanation as to why Chignard is a very well structured Fleurie. Chignard makes wines with the traditional semi-carbonic method. They have 8 ha of vines and IIRC, they make just two wines. Les Moriers is supposedly the basic wine except that it is exquisite and from 50-60 yo vines so it can hardly be called “basic”. The Cuvée Spéciale is made from 80-100 yo vines and is aged in barriques (with a five year rotation) as opposed to big barrels. The Spéciale needs lots of age, at least for one as oakophobic as myself. The 2007 only just seems drinkable.Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers 2012
– a barrel sample. Everyone had talked of 2012 being a difficult year yet here again is a wine that doesn't seem like it. This is really pretty, though it's not a finished wine so perhaps there's not much point talking about it, but it seems to have a great purity of fruit and good but not harsh structure.Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers 2011
– this is quite an exquisite wine: perfumed and floral and peachy as I hope this cru to be; but it is also tannic (perhaps that's the terroir close to Moulin-à-Vent?) and savoury and racy and palate-cleansing. Wonderful.Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers 2010
– a lovely, crunchy style of wine, less ripe but more aromatic than the 2011; racy, elegant, structured but sexy. Lovely wine. The more I taste them, the more I love 2010s.Chignard Fleurie Cuvée Spéciale 2010
– oaky, tannic, refreshing, and I didn't like it. But then I tried a couple more vintages.Chignard Fleurie Cuvée Spéciale 2009
– also oaky, and very sweetly fruity (hot year!). Tannic and un-charming at the moment. But the pieces seem like they might come together with a few years more age.Chignard Fleurie Cuvée Spéciale 2007
- gosh! This really has magicked most of that oak away! This smells deep and savory and serious; but it is crunchy and lovable on the palate. I like it! This is just beginning to drink, so keep all the younger ones in the cellar still. Jean Foillard
Foillard is a special property for me because it's the first real Beaujolais that I tasted. Finland sucks, because we've got perhaps the worst alcohol monopoly in the world. I wish that Norway's monopoly would run things here – that's how bad it is. Anyway, in 2008-2009 I happened to be in London and I tried the first real Beaujolais I have had: it was Foillard. And I thought it was pretty awesome! Until that point I had only had the likes of Duboeuf. But the Foillard Côte du Py 2006 changed my mind. Now I understood why some people took Beaujolais seriously. It was just an exquisitely beautiful wine with lots of savouriness, and lots of ripeness, too. It seemed to have lots of everything yet it was also light and vivacious and savoury. The most memorable thing was how exquisitely fun it was to drink. Fun seems to be a word that is rarely mentioned when people write about wine which is a shame as it's really the only reason to drink wine.
When we visited Foillard, he wanted to serve everything blind. He served his wines in several flights and he wanted us to tell him what we thought of them. This is a very good idea in theory, but there is one problem: my French is practically nonexistent, and Foillard claims his English is no better. (He lies!). I understood c.10% of what he said; but I think he understood about 98% of what I said. Morgon Côte du Py 2011
Perfect wine!? Bright and savoury. Foillard says that it is mineral but my thoughts are that it is all about the purity of fruit and frankly I can't see anything mineral here. But that's not a problem because the wine is supremely beautiful and savoury and crunchy despite the huge amount of ripe fruit. This is a big and sweet wine. But it is also a wine that I love despite my aversion to big and sweet wines generally.Fleurie 2011
Sappy, fresh cherry fruit. Rich but racy. This seemed both lighter in colour and in fruit than the Côte du Py so I wondered, since these were served blind, if he had put a 2010 amidst 2011s to fool us. But no. Very pretty wine. This comes from La Madone and Grille Midi -parcels in Fleurie.Morgon Corcelette 2011
– an old vine cuvée of c.50 yo vines; a dark and tannic wine that needs age but seems supremely pure. More monolithic and less vivacious than the Côte du Py.Morgon Côte du Py 2010
– this was a really bright and lovely wine that smelled of strawberry juice. Sweet fruit but good crunchy acidity, too. Wonderful.Fleurie 2010
– this is a difficult wine: the smell is perhaps the loveliest on the whole trip; but the taste does have a bit of CO2. Perhaps decanting would have helped. Anyway: unbelievably beautiful aroma.Fleurie 2009
– Sweet and ripe, but it does have outstanding levels of acid for this notoriously low-acid year. I like it. And I think I think I'll love it once the fruit calms down in future years.Morgon Côte du Py 2009
– fresh and savoury for the year but not as refreshing as the Fleurie 2009. Morgon Côte du Py Vieilles Vignes Cuvée 3,14 2009
Very sweet, very rich, raisiny, Foillard liked this but I thought it was a bit too much at the moment. Right now I preferred the more savoury 2010s. I don't mind sweet fruit in a Beaujolais, but the level of sweetness here was uncommon in my experience of Beaujolais and felt more like that of Grenache, which I'm not usually so fond of. Hold. And hope that the fruit intensity diminishes.
After this tasting Jean Foillard's wife Agnès cooked us lunch during which Foillard wanted to open a 2006 since he liked the fact his '06 was the first real Beaujolais I had drunk. So he went to his cellar and brought a Fleurie 2006
. This was beautifully aged and intensely peachy in its aromas; it had turned quite light and soft and had a wonderful paradox of being unintense yet full of gentle flavor.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.