Hello wine lovers and happy wine Wednesday! I hope your week is off to a great start.
As you know, I was excited to study Beaujolais as it is a region I have not given much time to. Happily – we got to study this interesting and emerging region last night and I was beyond impressed with the wine making, the flavour profiles and the price point.
Beaujolais is located just south of Burgundy and is predominately planted with the Gamay grape (98%). Northern Beaujolais is where the Cru AOC’s are located and the Gamay grape thrives here due to the granite and schist soil. The Gamay grape delivers a wine that is usually brightly pigmented in hues of purple or bright red and delivers high acid and low tannins. Beaujolais is also made, in most instances, by a process called semi-carbonic maceration which differs from traditional or regular wine making practices in that it is an enzymatic fermentation that happens within the berry and whole bunches of grapes are put into the vat without any de-stemming or crushing of the grape.
There are 10 Beaujolais Crus that range from north to south and are the most complex expressions of the Gamay grape you can find. The yields are the lowest in the region and the grapes are hand harvested. Some top Cru AOC’s are: Chénas AOC, Morgon AOC and Moulin-à-Vent AOC. These Beaujolais Cru wines can be cellared for up to 10 years in a good vintage and do need time in the bottle to develop their potential.
Beaujolais Nouveau was, historically, quite a big deal in the wine world. This freshly made wine is released on the third Thursday in November and still makes up a third of Beaujolais total production. This wine style is light and fruity with notes of fresh red fruits and sometimes banana, bubblegum or hard candy. I, happily, didn’t try any last night as I am not a fan of the flavour profile however there is a celebratory, almost custom, in Japan of filling up a huge hot tub like bath with Beaujolais Nouveau and bathing in it while sipping a glass…no thank you!
Anyhoo, I did try some lovely wines last night that I enjoyed and these wines definitely gave me a new respect and perspective on the Beaujolais region:
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais 2011 (12%) AOC Beaujolais $15.50 – hands down my super ‘Hell Yes’ find of the evening. This is available in all the BC liquor stores and it a fantastic find. Notes of red cherry and cranberry with a lovely high and refreshing acidity. This wine can take on a slight chill and is a great option for a warm day refreshing sipper or to be paired with tomato based Italian fare. Light, fresh, simple yet interesting – this is a ‘must try’ bottle.
Christophe Pacalet Beaujolais-Villages 2011 (12.5%) AOC Beaujolais-Villages $22.90 This wine comes from 70-year-old vines and is made without additives and very little sulphur. Mouth-watering taste of earth with an herbal component mixed with fresh strawberries, raspberries and a hint of leather. Interesting and unique.
Domaine des Nugues AOC Fleurie 2010 (13%) $24.99 Some nice floral aromas of violet with raspberry, spice, earth and minerality – this wine was nicely complex at such a fantastic price point! It had hints of a savoury profile as well and a nice amount of acidity.
Jean Foillard Morgon ‘Côte du Py’ 2011 Morgon AOC (13%) $41.75 Holy moly – this one was my favourite in the higher end category. This is a natural, biodynamic producer who uses old vine Gamay grapes. This had a stellar long finish and a perfect balance of acid with notes of darker fruit like plum and some game. It had bigger tannins that the other wines but it could still do with another 5 years of aging…this is a bottle to get and put down and enjoy in 5 years! Yum.
Our last bottle in the Beaujolais tasting was slightly corked so I will post when we have tasted the bottle and let you know my thoughts on it…
In summary – this is not a region to overlook. The $15.50 Georges Duboeuf 2011 is a wonderful value wine that is interesting enough and super refreshing. Some Beaujolais Cru’s producers are shifting their winemaking choices to more natural and biodynamic methods that beautifully illustrate how the Gamay grape can express itself and its’ terroir.
That is it for this week. This bit of happiness and sunshine goes out to two D’s I know – I send you love and light.