Part 2: A top wine at below $15 - Beaujolais
So after last weeks success of a fresh and crisp white, I thought this week we would dive into what I believe is a fantastic hidden treasure which gets very little attention, but if you speak to Somms, it is by far the most underrated wine region in the World: Beaujolais!
Part 2: Gamay - Beaujolais
Looking for a refreshing red to drink during lunch: Beaujolais; next to the pool? Beaujolais, by itself? Beaujolais. Fish, meat, and everything in between? Beaujolais.
1) Region: Beaujolais, south of Burgundy and north of Rhone (South-East-Central France)
2) Grape: Gamay
3) Climate: Continental with Mediterranean influences: Cool winters and warm summers.
3) Flavours to look out for: Fresh red tree fruit, red/dark berries, banana, bubble gum with floral notes
4) Textures: A light body wines which show good acidity with low tannins and low alcohol
5) Food pairings: Chicken, duck, salmon, cod, shrimps, vegetables. This wine goes well with most food pairings you can think of. This is a home run for Thanksgiving dinner!
6) How to serve? Slightly cooler than a regular red wine: 12-14*C
Ok so I might be really quite obsessed with Beaujolais. I love Beaujolais, however there are different quality levels. The recommendation for todays post is a Beaujolais-Village($10-15) which can be from one of, or a combination of 38 different villages across the Beaujolais region. There is also another version which is released shortly after harvest called Beaujolais Nouveau($5-10), this is what made Beaujolais famous, however, this style of wine does not show the true expression of Gamay! This brings me to the highest level within the Beaujolais, the Crus, which includes 10 separate Crus ($25-40), which are 100% Gamay and show multiple expressions of the Gamay grape. These wines have a wonderful structure and elegance to them. Heck, you could age these for 10 years and they would taste more like a Pinot Noir than a Gamay.
Explaining the love us Somms have towards Beaujolais is difficult, maybe the upfront nature and how close to the terroir we are drinking, maybe the quality-price ratio of the wines, compared to those from the North which cost x5 the cost. A certain aspect has to do with how easy it is to match food with these wines, and how they can match with everything!
There are a number of fantastic producers who cover all quality levels from Villages, all the way to Crus. My go-to producers from Beaujolais are: Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton and Georges Duboeuf
So today we will focus on George Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages 2018 - My tasting notes are as follows:
Very easy drinking Beaujolais-Villages, certainly a home run for the price, as I taste through wines which are champions at below $15. this is fresh and bright, with red cherries, strawberries, fresh violets and a touch of bubble gum, the palate was fresh with a bouquet of fresh berry fruits, a little rich and more concentration than expected. The finish was simple, yet acceptable. Don't get me wrong this will not touch some of the top crus of Beaujolais, but again $15, would buy again.
One step up are the 10 Crus of Beaujolais, which can be as described as follows:
Saint-Amour - Light and easy-drinking, maybe the most romantic?
Julienas - More rustic and structured
Chenas - You will want to age this, good mineral backbone
Moulin-a-Vent - They call this the king of kings, and is certainly the most structured
Fleurie - The most delicate and elegant
Chiroubles - This is quintessential Beaujolais
Morgon - My favorite, due to being accessible early, fruit-forward yet with a structure to age
Regnie - Spicy fruit!
Cote de Brouilly - I find this sometimes lacks distinction
Brouilly - Always a safe bet, but lacks some distinctions, a good starting Cru for those not familiar with Beaujolais Crus.
Hopefully, this has introduced you to a new variety that you might not know that much about, however, you will look out for in the future.