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Here's the gist of their suggestion for a sample dozen Beaujolais. They lead up to it by suggesting that each of the crus has its own style, and each wine maker tweaks that.

 

In general, this is a little broader than Marty's excellent suggestions above, and less specific. Either way, you'll drink well.

 

 

Here's how we'd put a case together. Except where noted below, you want to get the 2007 vintage, which has recently been released. We have been tasting dozens of wines from the 2007 vintage in the past several weeks and they are consistently fruity, juicy and fun. Once again, keep in mind that the reason we are writing this column early is that it will take some effort to put together this case. You will almost surely have to visit at least a few good stores or spend some time online. Here's the case:

 

1) A bottle of regular Beaujolais.

 

2) A bottle of Beaujolais-Villages. This is supposed to be a slight step up from plain-old Beaujolais. We've never found much of a difference, but that's what will make this fun.

 

3-8) Six of the 10 cru villages of Beaujolais. The 10 villages are Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié and Saint-Amour. If you can find all 10, wow, go for it. But even finding six will be a stretch, so let's reach for that for now.

 

9) A white Beaujolais. Many people -- probably including several of the merchants you will visit -- don't realize there is Beaujolais Blanc. It's made from Chardonnay and it can be absolutely charming -- light, fun and a little bit earthy, very much the white equivalent of red Beaujolais. This will certainly take some effort. Call around or put that mouse to work.

 

10) A different producer of any one of the bottles above. If you can find, say, one Beaujolais-Villages made by Duboeuf and another made by Joseph Drouhin or Louis Jadot, that would be a fascinating tasting within a tasting.

 

11) A bottle produced by a winery with an unfamiliar name. Even confirmed wine lovers are sometimes amazed at how much stuff the little guys can bring to Beaujolais. We tasted a 2007 Morgon from Daniel Bouland that was terrific, with minerals, blue flowers and classy, intense fruit. It still had the grapey charm of Beaujolais, but was a very different wine, with some serious personality and soul. It was a wine to linger over and talk about and would be great even with elegant meals -- quite something for a Beaujolais. Bouland made just 550 cases of this wine, which is one-third of the winery's total production, according to importer Weygandt-Metzler of Unionville, Pa., and the personal care shows.

 

There are more of these little-guy Beaujolais wines out there than you might expect -- we tried an excellent Fleurie from Jean-Paul Brun, a lovely Beaujolais-Villages from Sylvain Rosier's Château du Chatelard and a memorable Fleurie from Pierre-Marie Chermette, among others -- but they're often hidden in stores behind more popular names. If you can find more than one small producer, that's a bonus. The more producers in this case of wine the better.

 

12) An older Beaujolais. While Beaujolais is usually made to be drunk young, there's no reason the better, bigger wines can't improve with a few years in the bottle -- that Bouland Morgon, for instance, will be even better in 2010. If you can find a Morgon or Moulin-à-Vent from 2005, that would be ideal. We also just tasted a Château de La Chaize Brouilly from 2005 that was excellent (and seems to be relatively widely available). If you can't find a 2005, go ahead and settle for a 2006. Don't just pick up an old Beaujolais that has been sitting on a market shelf for two years because it would likely be a tired, bad example of an older Beaujolais. This is another reason you should be dealing with a good store for this present.

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Thanks for your comments Daniel---I do have a fair amount of confidence that you will like at least a few of these wines----these are the kind of wines that I have found are not only appreciated by experienced wine geeks but are also accessible to newbies. I've got a cellar full of stuff that is far more august in reputation (not to mention price), but on a typical Tuesday night with a simple dinner like roast chicken, odds are it's one of these that I am reaching for.

 

Be warned however, that there is also a lot of bad wine made in Beaujolais, and the word Fleurie or Morgon on the label does not by any means guarantee that the wine will be good----you have to go with producers you know you can trust.

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The UK has exactly the same perception. The arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau is a bit like St Patrick's Day in London bars.

 

I received a catalog just yesterday which sought to persuade me that Cru Beaujolais wines, with bottle age, can often drink "more like Burgundy" than Beaujolais. Maybe so, but such promotion tends to remind me that I prefer Burgundy if I can afford it.

Well, the prices can be pretty different. But if you'd had Coudert's 1998 Cuvee Tardive lately, you wouldn't care if it said Mars on the label, you'd drink it with a smile.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alder has a nice comment about the 2006 Jean-Paul Thevenet "Vielles Vignes" Morgon, Beaujolais, France on his blog. I've had several previous Thevenet wines which have been well priced (all under $30, some under 20) and delicious, IMHO. This one is $23.

 

From the blog:

 

Tasting Notes:

Light ruby in color, this wine has a rich, loamy nose of cassis and cranberry aromas with darker notes of fruit and earth underneath. In the mouth it is lush -- silky, smooth, and very nicely balanced with flavors that bounce between the red tart fruit of cranberry and the darker, juicier notes of cassis. The tannins are faint, nearly imperceptible, and tinged with notes of smoke and wet dirt. This wine is concentrated to a perfect degree, rich without being overpowering, and pure without being too polished. Lovely.

 

 

 

Morgon from Thevenet

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If Smuckers made a wine cooler, it would be this strain of wine. It needs to be carbonated. Might make a good granita topped with yogurt. Not good enough to drink during Passover.

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Seriously speaking.. This wine is way too jammy for me.. It turns my stomache.. I appreciate it for what it is and could see why people enjoy it.. But I have like 6 more bottles to go through of different kinds and I am not looking forward to it..

 

 

 

 

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It is what it is. What people do here, which I think works well, is to eat it with something that really bludgeons the ripe banana aspect. Think salty tirol ham, sour cream, onions: flammkuchen.

 

(Breakfast of champions!)

 

Well, I think you could skip the ham during passover...substitute cheese.

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Yeh, I am not one who gets frustrated too quickly. I will keep on chugging along over here and hopefully will find something good.. I had a beaujolais with an endive, frisee salad with blue cheese and roasted walnuts.. I could not drink the wine with out eating the salad.. It was pretty good together but, alone, I couldnt handle the wine.

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Yeh, I am not one who gets frustrated too quickly. I will keep on chugging along over here and hopefully will find something good.. I had a beaujolais with an endive, frisee salad with blue cheese and roasted walnuts.. I could not drink the wine with out eating the salad.. It was pretty good together but, alone, I couldnt handle the wine.

Daniel,

I'm a little late to this thread; are you talking about a specific bottling or just Beaujolais in general . . . or something else?

Best, Jim

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These what's-the-big-deal-about-Beauj discussions are now perennial (like the hangover-cure choruses a month or so later).

 

Not so, earlier. The word Beaujolais has different meaning to the average wine drinker now that the minor offshoot Beauj. "Nouveau" got its marketing boost, its production outpaced real Beaujolais, and carbonic maceration or semi-carbonic maceration (fermentation methods associated with "Nouveau") invaded respectable meaty Beauj appelations. That's when those "flower labels" became commonplace. Now many people say "Beaujolais" when they mean Nouveau (as strange to old-timers as when they say "Zinfandel" and it later comes out they mean white). If Daniel hasn't found an example of the quality levels that used to be fairly common, he's not alone.

 

This also is one of the oldest wine topics in the 25-plus years of public Internet. Excerpts below.

 

2004: ... duBouefs, a firm that exploded on the US scene relatively recently with a strong leaning to the easy-selling pear-drop or banana-oil style (the ethyl and amyl acetates from the particular fermentation method) against which Tom Stevenson rails away so eloquently (some would say obscenely, playing on "maceration") in the Beaujolais section of his New Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia.

 

1991 (on rec.food.drink, which became alt.food.wine):

I too enjoy good Beaujolais when they are light and fruity and casual. However they are more diverse wines than that and there is a side to them many American wine enthusiasts have not had the pleasure of seeing. When vinified for extract and tannin, in a suitable year, the heavier Beauj. subregions (usually Morgon and Moulin-a-Vent) can yield substantial, concentrated, rich, velvety wines (with a lot of minerals and glycerin in them, like good Burgundies -- leave a bowl with some serious wine out to evaporate and you will be surprised at how much is "left" when the water and alcohol are gone).

 

Beaujolais of this type can age beneficially 10 years or more. I remember 1976s that I bought in Boston and they were like nectar for the gods at 5 years old. That was an unusually good vintage for the type (so was 1971). But along with vintage variation, there is pressure not to vinify "serious" Beauj's of this type because the market favors light, fruity, pasteurized, filtered wines. Anyway there is a class of Beauj's that overlap in weight and complexity the serious Burgundies -- this is not what Beaujolais is known for (comparing the two wines is like comparing figs with peaches -- with the absurdity implicit in claiming one is "better" than the other) -- but it is what Beaujolais is capable of.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
I just can't get into them.. I dont think I have had a Beaujolas I really enjoyed.. I especially have a problem with the Young ones that are raced across the Atlantic.. Can anyone recommend some good ones..

 

Mr Scream says that bottled Beaujolais is for tourists. In his village the real men drank it straight from the cow's teats.

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