I love this time of year. The change of the seasons is finally approaching. Here in Florida the change is slight, but I relish the heat and humidity slowly diminishing. The cooler evenings encourage me to sit on my deck and open a bottle of red instead of white. And what better red is there to transition from summer into autumn than a light, fruity Gamay? It’s slowly becoming a Beaujolais time of year!
In case you’re not privy to all things Beaujolais, here’s some information in a nutshell:
Beaujolais AOC is considered the most basic, and will also be the least expensive. The grapes for these wines mainly come from less distinguished vineyards in the southern part of the region. A large portion of this appellation is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.
Beaujolais-Villages AOC is the intermediate category as far as the classification goes. These wines come from 39 villages located in the midsection of the region where better quality grapes are grown. Beaujolais-Village are often a blend from several villages. Some wines from this appellation are also sold as Beaujolais Nouveau, but that is not very common.
Beaujolais Cru is the highest category of classification here. In Beaujolais the phrase “cru” refers to 10 special villages, where in other parts of France “cru” refers to a specific vineyard. The 10 Cru villages (more or less from North to South) are:
St. Amour – pretty, delicate wines
Juliènas – similar to St. Amour, but slightly beefier
Chénas – often keenly acidic, with notable minerality and fine tannin
Moulin-à-Vent – a top cru, very complex and muscular
Fleurie – aromatic, pungent wines that age well
Chiroubles – at their best, these are raw, gamey, and delectable
Morgon – another top cru; powerfully ripe fruit, amazing depth
Regnié – fresh, clean wines; generous, not terribly complex
Brouilly – dark wines, with notable bouillon flavors and strong tannin
Côte de Brouilly – a top cru: intense minerals & richness on the palate
The 2009 vintage in Beaujolais is considered to be brilliant. Even Georges Duboeuf, the so-called “King of Beaujolais”, was quoted as saying “”For me 2009 is the vintage of the sun – in fact, this is the best vintage of my lifetime. The  Beaujolais Crus are opulent, exceptionally full-bodied and fabulous. This vintage will be talked about for years to come.”
So, the wine I cracked open to celebrate the beginning of fall was the 2009 Les Vins Jean Claude Debeaune Fleurie Clos des Quatre Vents! I could see the opulence in the glass. It was much darker in color than most Cru Beaujolais I’ve had. I loved the aromas of jammy strawberry and black cherry, as well as violet. The palate was elegant with strawberry, cherry and some great minerality. This wine is a winner, and it has a nice price tag of about twenty bucks! If you can find it at your local retailer, be sure to grab a few bottles!
Considering Beaujolais Nouveau is released next month, you may very well see my blog visiting this region again soon!