It’s December. The sights and sounds of the holiday season are all around us now. Now is the time to treat yourself, if you can. I went out the other day and spent a couple of times what I usually would for a bottle of wine.
It was a Beaujolais, a $ 30 Beaujolais.
In the aftermath of the Nouveau Beaujolais festival, an event that generally goes unnoticed, this may seem surprising, even ridiculous. Especially if your look at Beaujolais presents the elegant and modestly priced wines of Georges Duboeuf with their pretty floral labels.
It is true that Beaujolais is not very respected. The region produces a great deal of modest wine for daily enjoyment, using the Gamay grape which was once so little esteemed in neighboring Burgundy that Duke Philippe le Bold banned Gamay from Burgundy in 1395, placing this region on the 100 route. % Pinot Noir. and greatness.
BÃ©ajolais farmers and winemakers, on the other hand, spent the next 600 years devoting themselves to making simple and enjoyable everyday wines that did not excite wine snobs but whose virtues were not lost. for citizens of the neighboring city of Lyon, France other culinary center jostling for the attention of gourmets with the bigger and more famous Paris.
So, Beaujolais: Basic wine, simple wine, inexpensive wine, but also fruity, convivial, and really good at the table. That’s a lot to like, if you’re not focused on the critical points and sky-high prices.
Beaujolais is still technically part of Burgundy, so Beaujolais producers can still put the words âBurgundy red wineâ on the label. Burgundy producers have recently tried to put an end to the practice, but the Beaujolais team pushed back that effort during a showdown last year.
Like pretty much every other French region, Beaujolais developed a lake of inexpensive wine but also had room for more than a few winemakers who sought to do something better with the grape and may not feel not even the need to put the “Burgundy” on the label. Or âBeaujolaisâ either, for that matter.
Things get serious when we reach that level, the 10 Beaujolais crus which, at their best, can compete with much of Burgundy. Grown on conveniently located granite hillsides (unlike the flat limestone fields that make up much of ordinary Beaujolais), these privileged villages are set in a compact section, about 15 miles long by 7 miles wide, at the far end north of Beaujolais. Cultivated in this privileged terroir and subjected to lower controlled yields, Gamay can produce interesting, complex wines, but also tasty and gourmet.
Ranked from north to south, these ten villages are Saint-Amour, JuliÃ¨nas, Moulin-Ã -Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, RÃ¨gniÃ¨, Brouilly at the southern end, and in the middle of Brouilly on the blue granite slopes of Mont Brouilly , CÃ´te de Brouilly.
The CÃ´te de Brouilly is my favorite Beaujolais village and is one of my (many) favorite wines. Today’s star wine, a 2020 vintage fresh from the always reliable importer Kermit Lynch, is one of the best Beaujolais I have ever tasted. With the self-confidence of the Crus, it only bears its own village name. There is neither âBeaujolaisâ nor âBourgogneâ on the label.
This wine, ChÃ¢teau Thivin CÃ´te de Brouilly, a lovely drinkable feast of strawberries, cranberries, anise, violets and haunting notes of stony minerality, comes highly recommended. If the holiday spirit has you looking for a $ 30 wine that tastes like you’ve spent a little more, this is a good choice for you.
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Tasting report of the day
ChÃ¢teau Thivin 2020 CÃ´te de Brouilly ($ 29.99)
Fresh from last year’s vintage, ChÃ¢teau Thivin 2020 CÃ´te de Brouilly is a fine example of the best of Beaujolais, organically grown on the volcanic blue granite soil typical of the CÃ´te de Brouilly which lends its deep minerality to this wine. of brilliant garnet fresh strawberry, cranberry, anise, and violet. These complex aromas continue elegantly on the palate with cleansing acidity and soft but persistent tannins that last with the fruit until a long finish. The label displays 14.1% alcohol, strong for a Beaujolais, but it must be said that it does not attack the wine. An excellent Brouilly and a good choice for the holidays. US importer: Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, California (December 10, 2021)
FOOD CORRESPONDENCE: Wine-searcher suggests pairing it with chicken and turkey, a good choice for the holidays. It would also work well with pork and would work with beef or game. We enjoyed it with spaghetti in meat sauce (using Beyond Meat plant-based beef crumbles and tomato sauce from our garden) and with mild cottage cheese.
WHEN TO DRINK: The CÃ´te de Brouilly and the other Beaujolais villages are generally kept in good cellar conditions and can evolve and be interested for five years or more. At the same time, it’s drinking wonderfully at the moment, so there’s no need to wait.
VALUE:My local price of $ 30 might seem high for a Beaujolais, but it comes from a prominent village and an outstanding example of the region that stands comparison to more expensive wines. Wine-Searcher.com’s average US retail price of $ 32 and the same price at importer Kermit Lynch is more than fair. It’s $ 37 on Wine.com, and I won’t say more!
Here’s a helpful backgrounder from importer Kermit Lynch.
The winery website has an extensive page in English.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Consult the prices and find the sellers of ChÃ¢teau Thivin CÃ´te de Brouilly on Wine-Searcher.com.
Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find lists of dozens of other CÃ´te de Brouilly wines.
Wine Focus: Wine 403 – Champagne & its components
We’re at the end of 2021, and it’s time for the last Wine Focus of the year. We’ve been talking about blends for a few months, and we’re doing something similar in December: let’s taste the typically Champagne blends of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, but with a nod to Pinot Meslier, Pinot Blanc, and other common components in the mixture. We will also consider fixed versions of one of the authorized Champagne grape varieties, even if they are not from Champagne! Do you have a Chardonnay you want to open? Go for it ! Itching for pinot blanc? Dark! It’s the holiday season, so let’s call it free for all! Wine 403 – Champagne & its components
Sponsor of the day:
Wine-Searcher.com is the place to go online if you want to find where to buy a particular wine that interests you. In addition, Wine-Searcher.com offers much more. It is well worth a visit just to experience its many features, including its popular list of the top 10 wines in the world.
Great wines we tried for under $ 10.99!
Want good deals for always more good inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher’s links to vendors and prices for a bunch of additional wines for $ 10.99 or less that I’ve been telling you about in recent years. In some cases, the prices may have passed the $ 10.99 mark since I reviewed them, but they should still be great bargains. Please tell us about your favorites!
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