Kermit Lynch is a California wine merchant and importer, wine writer and owner of a French vineyard. But most important- to me, at least- he has a palate that eschews manipulated wines.
Last week, I purchased a bottle of 2011 Domaine Michel Chignard Les Moriers Fleurie. It is imported by Lynch and was as true to Fleurie as darkness is to night.
Fleurie is a Cru Beaujolais, meaning it is one of 10 villages in the Beaujolais region permitted to print the name of the village on the label because of the unique character of its wines.
In the case of Fleurie, the wine should have a floral and red berry scent. It should be light on your palate, the way a croissant is. The pleasing red fruit flavors should be delicate but not shy, and with an aftertaste that reminds you of the day you ate a bowl of perfectly ripe raspberries and strawberries. At its best, Fleurie is a tantalizingly aromatic and freshly picked red fruit-flavored wine. Delightful is an appropriate descriptor.
So when I poured the 2011 Domaine Michel Chignard Les Moriers Fleurie and saw the bright, translucent raspberry color, I was visually pleased. Yes, this is Fleurie’s color. And as I inhaled the floral and cherry aromas, I paused to allow its saturation. Yes, this is Fleurie’s scent. And when the cranberry and black cherry flavors crossed my palate on refined tannins and weaved acidity, I refrained from drinking the rest of the glass. I put the it down, reached into the cabinet and took out my decanter. Fifteen minutes later, the aromas and flavors were delightful. And I refilled my glass.
Domaine Chignard is owned by Michel Chignard; five years ago, he gave the reins to his son Cedric, the fifth generation winemaker of this family-owned estate. Les Moriers is a 20-acre vineyard with 60-year old vines. Chignard ages the wine in large old casks for 13 months and bottles it without any filtration or added sulfites. It is traditional Fleurie.
We live in an age of wine conglomerates who make copycat wines; importers and distributors who tell winemakers to doctor the wine for a supposed “American taste”; and wealthy individuals opening wineries with winemaking consultants that produce formula-styled wines. It’s all done to get a 90-plus point score from wine publications, as that is the trip wire that triggers an explosion of orders from retailers.
The 2011 Domaine Michel Chignard Les Moriers Fleurie is imported by Kermit Lynch and is as true to Fleurie as darkness is to night.