Everyone needs a “go-to” wine… one that is enjoyable with or without a meal… one that you can bet you’ll find in most stores that sell wine… and one that isn’t going to wreck your budget. This week’s Divine Wine is one that I’ve enjoyed a number of times for the reasons listed above. Most recently, I sipped on it a few days ago to make sure it was fresh in my mind for today’s post. So, for a go-to wine, may I suggest….
Divine Wine of the Week: Beaujolais Villages, Maison Louis Jadot Winery, Burgundy, France
Price Range: $8-12 in most stores (in Arizona), $8.47 at Total Wine, available in most grocery stores as well as Costco.
I would describe this lovely bottle as a light-bodied red that is a little watery, but I don’t mean that in a bad way… More in a way that just makes it easy to drink. It is fruity – strawberries come to mind. But it isn’t overly sweet. It’s almost like having a cup of juice (the alcohol free kind) and this Wino has to be careful not to take too many sips too quickly. I usually buy this one in multiples because it is nice to enjoy on Saturday afternoon or on Tuesday evening.
French wines are known by their regions whereas most other wines of the world (though not all) are known in name by their grape(s). So a Beaujolais wine indicates it is from the vineyards in Beaujolais which is located in the southern region of Burgundy, France. Beaujolais wines are made from the gamay grape, which is a soft, fruity, purple grape. The Wine Bible describe gamay as follows:
“Gamay’s flavors are virtually unmistakable: a rush of sweet black cherry and black raspberry, then a hint of peaches, violets, and roses, followed by a smidgen of peppery spiciness at the end.”
…Coffee Talk Interlude: Note there is a red wine known in California and referred to as a gamay Beaujolais that is neither made from the gamay grape nor is it related to Beaujolais. It is a pinot noir clone. Discuss amongst yourselves….
“Beaujolais has been called the only white wine that happens to be red.” (The Wine Bible) Oh my gosh, this line describes this wine so perfectly to me!! Something about this noticeably red wine is so distinguishably white. So to all you white wine Winos out there, give this red a try! (And here I was feeling bad that I was being unfair to white wines given the quantity of reds I’ve blogged about vs whites on Divine Wine Sunday… I feel better now.)
The grape description above translates into the flavors one will taste in a Beaujolais wine, which is what makes it so enjoyable and easy to drink. While the flavor of the grape plays a huge role in the outcome of htis wine, it is also obtains some of its character via the “carbonic maceration” process. That means that whole grapes (in clusters) are put into a fermenting tank and the fermentation takes place inside each grape. It then rests in the tanks for 5-9 months and then is bottled and sold. This carbonic maceration process can be used for any grapes, but apparently is best with super fruity grapes, like gamay.
What does Maison Louis Jadot (the winemaker) say about this wine?
“Strong red purple colour. Fresh red fruits on the nose with a hint of dark cherry. Slightly spicy with a touch of grey pepper, liquorice and a touch of rose flower. The whole wine is very well balanced with a nice acidity and the tannins presence on the finish invites food pairing such as with Terrines, Charcuteries, Grilled red meat, white fish, cheese or simply as the sole wine of a meal.“
!ALERT!: New phrase added to Wino’s favorite phrases list (which doesn’t yet exist, but it will): “Sole wine of a meal.”
Ok, so I’m a bit thrown off by the “spicy” description (made both by the general description of gamay and Beaujolais from The Wine Bible as well as from the winemaker’s website). I will have to try this wine again with new taste buds to see if I can find the “spiciness”. But I clearly agree with the “sole wine of a meal” comment!
As noted above, Beaujolais is in southern Burgundy stretching 35 miles long and 9 miles wide with 96 villages total. There are three categories of Beaujolais: (1) Beaujolais, (2) Beaujolais-Villages, (3) Beaujolais Cru. (The latter being the highest quality.) So all wines from this area are identified as one of these three categories. Wine categorized as Beaujolais-Villages comes from one of 39 villages in the middle of the Beaujolais region and is often a blend of grapes from a few of the said villages. In contrast, plain ol’ Beaujolais is made from “less distinguished” vineyards in the southern part of the Beaujolais region, and Beaujolais Cru is made from the 10 most distinguished villages. (I smell future blog post diving into this topic a bit more.)
…Tidbit extra of Wine Know: Beaujolais Nouveau is different than the Beaujolais wines… (another future blog post)… but don’t get it confused, Winos!
So hopefully you Wine Know a little more about Beaujolais in general. If you run out to buy a bottle of Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais Villages, let me know what you think!
[Source for all Wine Know in this post is, unless otherwise stated, from: The Wine Bible.]