Prejudice can be a terrible burden. Just look at cru Beaujolais, which suffers the same sort of taint that threatened Elizabeth Bennet’s matrimonial hopes after her trampy sister ran away with the odious Wickham in Pride and Prejudice. But cru Beaujolais, a potentially elegant and sophisticated wine, should not be tarred with the same brush as Beaujolais nouveau, its callow and easy-virtued sibling.
Cru Beaujolais hails from one of 10 communes that earned the right to label their wines with their own names. Although each is made from the gamay grape, each of the crus has a distinct identity, ranging from the delicate Chiroubles to the ponderous Moulin-à-Vent.
Fleurie splits the difference by combining the floral appeal of Chiroubles with the structured depth of Moulin-à-Vent. George Duboeuf, the dominant négociant of Beaujolais, offers several different bottlings of Fleurie; of these, Ryan Hampton of Haskell’s prefers Domaine des Quatre Vents for its exuberant fruitiness, the hallmark of all good Beaujolais (even the kind that minds its manners).