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Early in a late bloomer’s life

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Fleurie 2011, Cuvée Spéciale, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Chignard ($30.50, 11695135)
Gamay from a one-hectare parcel of 75- to 100-year-old vines in the Moriers vineyard on the border with Moulin-à-Vent. Traditioinal vinification, including semi-carbonic maceration, whole-cluster fermentaiton and no temperature control. The wine is matured in oak barriques (20% new), not large fûts. Also available in magnums ($62.00, 11695127). 13% ABV.
Dark garnet-purple: only the fading at the rim would keep you from thinking this is a Pommard or a northern Rhône Syrah. The muted nose hints at cherry, slate and violets. Concentrated and monolithic in the mouth, with a structure so massive it’d crush most Moulin-à-Vents. While the fruit is pure and ripe and bouyed by sappy acidity, an astringent streak robs it of sweetness. In fact, the tannins are reminsiscent of a young red Burg’s, though the wine’s weight is more Fleurie-like. The oak is noticeable, in other words not well integrated. Dimensions? Longer than broad or deep, though that may change with age. The elements are all there but the whole is disjointed and if not exactly rebarbative, not exactly engaging either. Needs time – say, five years in a cool cellar or double that for the magnum. (Buy again? Yes, though maybe not in preference to some of the private import “natural” Morgons, Fleuries and Moulin-à-Vents.)

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Written by carswell

June 16, 2013 at 10:52

Posted in Tasting notes

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