Domaine Des Grands Fers Fleurie 2004
Fleurie may well be a dangerous name for a wine, largely because it is so beautiful. One of
the ten distinctive Beaujolais Crus, if translated from modern French the name fleurie
(as a feminine adjective) would mean “flowery,” “in bloom,” “flourishing,” “decked with
flowers;” truly an evocative title for a village, much less a village known for its wine. You
could decide to push the name aside and “read” the wine as best you could, but etymology
can still be of assistance. The name Fleurie may in fact be of rougher origin, taken from the
old French word fler, meaning a thorny hedge. The wine, of course, is today, and
among the best you can find in the northern reaches of Beaujolais.
The 2004 Domaine Des Grands Fers Fleurie from producer Christian Bernard would be a lovely wine by any other name, and $12 is an extremely palatable price. The wine is a classic medium intensity purple. Aromatically it is hardly shy, giving nose notes of cherry, candied cherry, cranberry, lavender, violet, orange peel and a little bit of heat from its 13% alcohol level. You can nose this wine quite a while; it almost forces you to take in the aroma before you dare put it to your lips. It's kind of like…ah, but you've made that analogy yourself: bravo!
The wine is dry, and instead of quantifying the acidity as low, medium, or high I have written the word “bright,” yielding more of a qualitative judgment. It is not a tannic wine, but the tannins are in there working in line with the acidity nevertheless. The flavor notes of cranberry, cherry and candied cherry match the nose, but the wine also brings apricot, candied lemon peel, tangerine, lavender and the crisp herbal-floral touch of candied angelica. I know these are a great number of notes to imagine in conjunction, but the wine has them, provided you don't gulp it down in your enthusiasm. It is light-bodied, of medium length, with a smooth crisp mouth-feel. If the wine has a negative, it may be a touch too much alcohol (not on an absolute basis, of course, but for its type).
While a wine and its name should always be considered separately, it is natural to deem this
lovely wine worthy of an appellation the likes of Fleurie. Somehow if you called it “Mud
Brick” the experience might not be quite the same.
Verdict: Lovely and Light
Certain wines could absolutely be matched with food, but can be better employed matched with someone you intend to kiss.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman