Friday, 25 May 2012

Wine of the week #33: Beaujolais-Villages (Red/France)

Hi all,

After a Februaresque April and beginning of May, the Summer has suddenly hit us with a passion! Hooray!
To celebrate these warming rays of sunshine, I have been out to try some 3 reds to sip out in the garden.
3 Beaujolais-Villages from Waitrose, The Oxford Wine Company and Asda. And the winner is:

It is
A dry red wine made from the Gamay grape in the region of Beaujolais, a few dozens miles north of Lyon.

Appearance: very light purple
Nose: red cherries and a bit of violet
Palate: a lot of fruit with generic red cherries all over, a bit of bubblegum, banana and violets. The texture is light & smooth, the alcohol low (13% that feels like 12%). A very good balance between acidity and fruit. Not complex at all and sometimes borderline on artificial flavours but pleasant overall. No tannins.
Score: 12/20


Have it with:
On its own or with some saucisson (Waitrose's Label Rouge) or  any cold cuts like Parma Ham, Mortadella, etc. and soft light cheeses like Caprice des Dieux, a very light brie with a nice baguette.

You'll like it if you like: nibbling red cherries in the sun, picnics, light reds e.g. Valpolicella, Dolcetto, Old world Pinot Noir, not using a knife to 'part' the bread, cheese and saucisson, a table of 24 with 23 people you don't know, etc.

Where to find it:
1) Waitrose - Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages - £7.49 - 12/20
2) Oxford wine company - Beaujolais Villages Frank Besson - £9.99 - More finesse, complexity in fruit with very good balance but slighty dry and chewy tannins on the finish. Would beat Louis Jadot's with food. 11/20
3) Asda - Extra Special Beaujolais Villages - £5 - Yes, it's light, with a good balance and very quaffable but with a clear lack of fruit. A bit too simple and too bland. 7/20

Did you know?
> Gamay, the grape that makes Beaujolais red wine, makes up 98% of the plantings in the region. The other 2% are Chardonnay which makes a great but much simpler wine vs. neighbouring Burgundy.

>  Wine has been made in the Beaujolais region since the 7th Century. 

> Beaujolais has got a reasonably poor reputation thanks to the Beaujolais Nouveau but there are many quality wines made in the area. 

> When considering Beaujolais wines, make the distinction between:
- Beaujolais Nouveau: usually to drink in large quantities when released and forgotten about just as quickly. Avoid.
- Beaujolais Villages: medium quality and 50/50 chance of an average wine.
- Beaujolais Crus: highest quality standard. There are 10 crus in the Beaujolais area: 1. St Amour 2. Régnié 3. Brouilly 4. Fleurie 5. Juliénas 6. Chénas 7. Cotes de Brouilly 8. Morgon 9. Moulin a vent 10. Chiroubles. If you find one under £10 in the UK, jump on it. You shouldn't be disappointed.

> I strongly suspect the Louis Jadot wine to have been made via carbonic maceration, whereby the grapes are left a few days to macerate before the actual fermentation to give the wine a little bit more colour and also these banana, kirsch and violet flavours that turn it into a little fruit bomb.

Enjoy your wine this weekend!