Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beaujolais

Beaujolais is a small area within Côte D'Or, which is only 30 miles long. Yet, it's the main area where Burgundy and Beaujolis are produced. But Burgundy and Beaujolis are completely different wine. Burgundy is made from 100% Pinor Noir grape variety, while Beaujolis is made from Gamay.

This red wine is light or medium bodied, usually unoaked with medium or high acidity, low tannin levels, and pronounced red fruit aromas (raspberry, cherry), and occasionally with a hint of cinnamon or pepper). They are best consumed while young when they are fruity, but a couple can be better with aging such as Morgon AC and Moulin-a-Ven AC. Beaujolais are generally cheaper, and I drank a lot of it when I first started wine tasting, but I still confuse it with unoaked Pinot Noirs. Burgundies are oaked and have a small hint of that toast, vanilla note. Pinot Noirs would also have some vegetal and animal nuance (wet leaves, mushroom, meaty aroma), but I can't really tell. Well, looks like I need more "practice!" Ah life is so hard.

Premium List:
Beajolais AC: Within the Beaujolais Village AC, there are ten villages, know as the Beaujolais Crus, which produces the best Beajolais:
  • Morgon AC
  • Moulin-à-Vent AC
  • Fleurie AC
  • Chénas AC
  • Chirouble AC
  • Brouilly AC
  • Côte de Brouilly AC
  • Juliénas
  • Régnié
  • Saint-Amour
My personal favourite producers are (and in this order): Drouhin, Bouchard, Jodot, Mommessin, Duboeuf.

Beaujolas Nouveau AC: a even lighter and fruiter Beaujolais released in the November following the harvest. These wines are meant to be consumed within 6 months.
Beaujolais Village AC: superior quality wines that come from the granite hills to the north of the region.

I spent this summer pairing Beaujolais, and the food choice depends on the appellation and vintage. For the younger Beajolais and Beaujolais Village, I go with white mean, veal, pâtés, cottage cheese or light cream cheese. For wines that have intense flavour, a stronger cheese such as blue cheese (e.g Roquefort). The crus Beajolais are quite flexible. Traditionally, it can be served with coq au vin or meat cooked in sauce. I once paired Morgon crus with roast lamb with orange olive rub which turned out nicely, surprisingly.

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