Beaujolais – Intro to the Gamay Grape

To continue on this journey through France, take a look at this educational article from the WSJ about the Beaujolais wine region…  I actually had this wine in Wine Essentials and it was the first of this kind I had ever tasted.  It uses a “gamay” grape that has a sweet strawberry/sour cherry taste.  It is a type of wine that you drink while it is young, a casual wine to enjoy with pizza, pasta, or ceasar salad…  It has a short finish however, I thought it would be a great picnic wine as the sweetness is just right so you can enjoy a lot of it for most of the day! A great “go-to” / “multipurpose” type of wine. Here is a quick wine 101 from the… Enjoy!!

Wine 101: Beaujolais

Few red wines are as easy to drink as Beaujolais. Here’s a primer on one of France’s most idiosyncratic wine regions:

The grape: Tucked just south of Burgundy and north of Lyon in central France, the Beaujolais region is the land of the Gamay grape, a varietal that is rarely grown elsewhere in the world. A sturdy fruit that is easy to cultivate, Gamay can produce wines ranging from light and fruity to dark, bold and full-bodied. But it has its detractors: Some say Gamay produces less-refined wines than those made with the Pinot Noir grape of nearby Burgundy. In 1395, the Duke of Burgundy outlawed Gamay from the region, preferring that the land be used to grow the more elegant Pinot Noir.

Not Nouveau: Today, most associate the region Beaujolais with the young, easy-to-drink wine Beaujolais Nouveau. Released every year on the third Wednesday of November to much marketing fanfare, the wine was spectacularly popular in the 1980s, but it has been snubbed in the past decade by critics who say it is too sweet. Others criticize the wine for its “short finish” — its flavors disappear the moment it hits the palate.

Stick with the Crus: For great value and excellent drinking, look for Beaujolais Crus, a designation given to just 10 small winemaking villages in the region. Julienas, Chiroubles, Morgon and Brouilly are the better-known cru towns.

Cru-designated vineyards are known for making high-quality wines that are affordable. These wines range from the dark berry and cherry flavors of Brouilly (and go well with poultry or grilled fish) to the more full-bodied and darker wines of Morgon and Julienas (which pair well with hearty red meat dishes).

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