Beaujolais is hot.
Maybe not Rosé hot or Prosecco hot or canned wine hot, but Beaujolais wines are finally starting to get the attention they deserve.
And I’m not talking about Beaujolais Nouveau here -- the quickly made, overly-marketed, first-of-vintage wines that come out every year just before Thanksgiving and die a quick death shortly thereafter. I’m talking about real Beaujolais; Gamay wines that have been well made and matured properly; wines that are delicious, bright, fresh and exceptionally food friendly.
But we can’t talk about Beaujolais without addressing Beaujolais Nouveau. The latter has, unfortunately, created a fog around this great French wine region that has tainted people’s perspective of the region’s wines for too long.
It’s similar to what overoaked Chardonnay did to the California Chardonnay category. There are some amazing California Chardonnays being made, many without any oak presence, but a good chunk of the wine-buying public stays away from the entire California Chardonnay category because they think they’ll get gloppy buttered popcorn and the inside of oak barrels. Beaujolais Nouveau has essentially done the same thing to the Beaujolais category — it has turned people away from trying Beaujolais wines because they perceive them to be cheap, bubble-gummy and basic. It’s unfortunate, but we’re starting to get past this misguided perspective. And all I can say to that is, it’s about time!
Geographically speaking, Beaujolais is Burgundy's southern neighbor. And, in that regard, its location is optimal for producing incredible wines. Unlike the red wines of Burgundy, however, Beaujolais wines are made from the Gamay grape. Burgundian reds are made from Pinot Noir. But, there are many similarities between the two, other than geographic closeness. For starters, these grapes are cousins that were both born in Burgundy and are both light-bodied in nature. The fact that they are so similar in style and place has lead many Burgundy lovers to start exploring Beaujolais as the prices of Burgundy wines have continued to escalate. Beaujolais (at least currently) provides high quality wines at an exceptional value.
Needless to say, I am VERY excited to introduce you to our first two 90+ Cellars Beaujolais wines!
Lot 158 is our everyday Beaujolais, made for pure enjoyment. It’s a classic series wine that is crafted from hand-harvested Gamay grapes grown near the villages La Chapelle-de-Guinchay and Romanèche-Thorins, which lie just east of the Crus, Fleurie and Chénas. Intrestingly, most everyday-priced Beaujolais wines come from the southern part of the Beaujolais region. This wine comes from the north, which is rare for wines of this tier.
Overall, we think Lot 158 is a great representation of real Beaujolais at a very reasonable price. It boasts a smooth texture and flavors of fresh strawberries and blueberries, with hints of wildflowers that come to life on both the palate and the beautifully illustrated label.
Lot 159 is a Cru Beaujolais from Chénas — one of ten designated Crus in the northern part of the Beaujolais region (and one of the hardest Crus to find wines from in the US). Lot 159 Chénas is a more serious and layered wine than 158, but it’s every bit as delicious. Made by means of partial carbonic maceration, the wine is bright and fresh with an earthy intensity and floral aromas.
If you haven't tried non-Nouveau Beaujolais wines before, we hope you'll give these a try. They're perfect for the fall and holiday season ahead, and will pair brilliantly with food and friends in the months to come.
If you are already a fan of Beaujolais wines, we think you'll find real value here. Both with Lot 158 as an everyday drinker and with Lot 159 as a more serious Beaujolais wine.
Both wines are available now at 90+ Cellars retailers and on our online store.