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Spring’s Stopped Springin’


Over the past couple of weeks we have been exploring wines to enjoy during this spring season whilst we await the arrival of summer and her lighter dishes. Well, with our recent weather and the fact that I was out riding today in nearly ninety degree heat, I believe that spring came in like a lamb and is going out like a roast lamb. So, we will switch to one of the lightest and fruitiest reds on our spring list, Beaujolais.


When most people hear Beaujolais they think of Beaujolais Nouveau, the nearly soda-pop beverage released on the third Thursday of each November. While this yearly release can be fun and a great excuse to go out and celebrate wine as opposed to using wine to celebrate something else, it is not the best example from this region on the south side of Burgundy (they are technically a part of the Burgundy region).


Red wines from Beaujolais can be separated into four different types, Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais AOC, Beaujolais- Villages and Beaujolais Cru. All of these are made from the Gamay grape, a light, thin skinned grape who has fallen out of favor with many “serious” wine drinkers. While it will never create a great wine, it is responsible for many well-made, pleasant wines with aromas of raspberry and cherry with very mild tannins. It can be a great alternative to a poorly made Pinot Noir and is usually better priced.


The first of these types accounts for almost 50% of production each year and is what is called a Primeur wine, or a wine that is allowed by the French government to be released prior to the official release date of the rest of the region. It is a red, light, quaffable wine whose greatest attribute is that it goes well with cranberry sauce and will not offend the rest of your choices at the Thanksgiving table. As mentioned, it is usually all people know of Gamay.


Beaujolais AOC comes from the south of the region where the soils are sedimentary and clay, cold soils that are incapable of fully ripening Gamay resulting in pleasant and quaffable wines. These are not contemplative sips. Beaujolais-Village comes from further north in the region where the soils are granitic with good drainage capable of ripening Gamay perfectly. The ‘villages’ part of the appellation relates to the 39 different villages located in this area that can grow and label their wines with this designation.


Of these villages, 10 have been specifically chosen as the best and are allowed to label their wines with their village names. Some of the most widely available would be Brouilly, Moulin-A-Vent, Fleurie and Morgon. These would be equivalent to ‘Grand Crus’ elsewhere, they are supposed to show distinct characteristics of their own. Each of these villages rests on a volcanic knoll with steep hills allowing perfect planting angles for sun exposure for optimal ripening.


These luscious cherry and raspberry infused fruit bombs will set our palates finally for the fresh fruit coming soon. Enjoy them with simple fare; roast chicken, roast pork loin with fruit glazes, even some of those fresh fruits soon to come. Check out some of these great examples on your own:


Blog Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais 2009 - 89Pts Robert Parker: "The Dupeuble 2009 Beaujolais cuvee for his U.S. importer is sweetly and generously berry-fruited; silken in texture; delightfully threaded with inner-mouth floral perfume; and finishes with saliva-inducing, invigorating panache, incorporating hints of pistachio oil and salt. Dupeuble claims none of the vines that produced this are younger than 60 years, and even his nouveau is from vines nearly as old. This will remain delightful for at least the next 2-3 years." (08/10). Only 15.99!!!


Blog Dubouef Fleurie 2009 - 90Pts Wine Spectator: This is packed with ripe, almost jammy, black cherry, boysenberry and damson plum fruit flavors, but it's well-balanced by integrated, juicy acidity. The fruit mixes with vanilla and clove notes, wrapping around chewy tannins that raise their heads on the long finish. Drink now through 2014. 7,000 cases made. –AN. Only 16.99!!!





Blog Jadot, Chateau Des Jaques, Moulin-a-Vent 2007 - 88Pts Wine Advocate: Red raspberry and smoked meat dominate on the nose and palate, and there is both a slightly astringent and resinous as well as a brightly acidic streak that keep this obviously well-concentrated wine from singing. With a bit of time in the air, deeper meatiness and riper fruit emerge, and stony and stimulating saline notes add to the interest in a persistent finish. Only 21.99!!!


~ Randy Freeland



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