Price Range: $28–30
- Ready to Drink: 2 years after bottle vintage
- Great recent vintages in Beaujolais: 2011, 2014°, 2015° °=all-time great vintage
Region: Beaujolais, France
The Gamay grape is a distant cousin of Pinot Noir, as it shares some of the latter’s DNA, but taste-wise the two are just about close enough to be kissing cousins. There is no place in the world more focused on one grape variety than the wine region of Beaujolais, caught between Burgundy and the Rhone—and Beaujolais does Gamay like Wisconsin does cheese or China does Kung Pao. Gamay is Beaujolais, and vice versa.
The “CLEPSYDRE” FLEURIE from ANNE SOPHIE DUBOIS is a high-end Beaujolais (“cru” Beaujolais, if you want to get all Frenchie on us). You might consider the town of Fleurie a kind of Beverly Hills of Beaujolais—the grapes from here are just better and higher class. And just like people who live in Beverly Hills don’t say, “I live in Los Angeles”—oh no, they tell people, “I live in BEVERLY HILLS”—you don’t call this just an ordinary bottle of Beaujolais. No, you call it a Fleurie.
Fact is, this is a wonderful Fleurie and worth the extra dollars and ensuing snob appeal that shouldn’t alienate you from your lesser friends, because the wine is so darn enjoyable on the most basic, primal human level. “Clepsydre” is a time-measuring instrument of ancient Egypt, and the wine is attributed the name because of how much time and patience is required by the winemaker for this wine to show its full potential. The exceptional craft truly shows.
With generous flavors of dark raspberries, currants and purple plums and pretty notes of dried rose petals and blue flowers along with a weighty undercurrent of, yes, potting soil, the 2015 Clepsydre is racy, juicy, earthy, dense, lively, expressive and spirited—yet mild-mannered. The wine has got the grace of a New York City ballerina: she floats in the air but so grounded and balanced when her toes are planted on the stage. Ethereal, yes, but also real and, beneath the surface, gritty. Misty Copeland does Beaujolais. –J.M.