Cru Beaujolais, way better than Nouveau
Beaujolais. Such a jaunty sounding word. It just seems like a happy place, doesn’t it? Well, it does to me. My first encounter with beaujolais was beaujolais nouveau. Not impressive, something to drink when you’ve got nothing better to do as far as I’m concerned. But to be fair, the Beaujolaises (I’m not really sure what you call people from there but I think this is close enough) have never pretended that Beaujolais nouveau was anything more then a fun easy drinking glugger. Beaujolais nouveau is produced, as all beaujolais is, from the gamay grape and is a lightweight, fruity wine, meant to be drunk young. Thanks to some brillant marketing, people all over the world wait for the release of Beaujolais nouveau which is always the third Thursday in November. As a matter of fact, the Japanese eagerly anticipate Beaujolais nouveau to take a bath in it! Those crazy Japanese…
But there is a lot more to Beaujolais then nouveau. Beaujolais is classified just as all grape regions are in France and has it’s own AOC or appellation controlee system. Beginning with the all encompassing Beujolais AOC (where most beaujolais nouveau comes from), moving onto Beaujolais Villages AOC which includes 39 commune/villages in the Haut Beaujolais and finally the cru Beaujolais which consists of 10 villages in the foothills of the Beaujolais mountains. The 10 villages are Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent, Chenas, Brouilly, Cote-de-Brouilly, Chiroubles, Saint-Amour, Julienas, Morgon, and Regnie. Interestingly, the cru Beaujolais are not allowed to produce beaujolais nouveau.
Despite all being produced from the gamay varietal, the Cru Beaujolais differ greatly in character. Brouilly, Regnie and Chiroubles are all light bodied and fruity and meant to be consumed within 3 years. Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie and Saint Amour all produce more medium bodied, feminine and floral wines which benefit from a year’s aging in bottle before drinking and can last up to 4 years. The last 4 villages, Chenas, Julienas, Morgon and Moulin-a-Vent, produce the fullest bodied wines, spicy with good structure, they need the longest time in bottle and are usually not meant to be drunk until the wine is at least 4 years old, up to 10 years.
I’ve been drinking alot of Fleurie lately, I do love the softness and delicacy of the wine. A friend of mine from Beaujolais came to visit and brought me a fantastic ’05 Fleurie but that is for another post. Right now, I want to talk about the two cru beaujolais that my wineblogging pal Sarah (Wine90) received the other day from Berry Bros & Rudd. The idea was to compare and contrast the two. We had a 2007 Fleurie from Domaine Metrat et Fils and a 2007 Morgon from Louis Claude Desvignes. Rather then write it up we did a video blind tasting. See how we did….