Beaujolais! An unparalled pleasure...
Any reasonably sophisticated, discerning consumer knows that Rome is Italy and Paris is France. Italians eat lots of garlicky spaghetti (occasionally clam linguini) washed down with Chianti in those cute straw-covered bottles. Arrivederci, baby. The French, on the other hand, are little more of a riddle. Beneath those charming berets, they’re pretty grouchy, perhaps from all those rich cream sauces and snails they eat. They’re serious about their wine, too. Way expensive, hoity-toity Bordeaux and Champagne are pretty much the sine qua non for all wine, everywhere. But those are for the upwardly mobile (the Chinese, some corporate executive types , etc.) Those without the means for the real stuff (the ones that are on strike all the time) spend their leisure time in cafés, listening to accordion music, smoking a lot and drinking Beaujolais, that charming but déclassé little red that Georges DuBoeuf made famous. It’s fun stuff, and good for a frivolous buzz (especially that kool-aid like Nouveaux version that comes out around Thanksgiving every year), but not for people who like real wine.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You can put the conventional wisdom about Beaujolais right there on the shelf with sweet rosé and riesling, soda pop Lambrusco, California “Chablis” and the Gallo Hardly Burgundy. If think you’re too “sophisticated” for Beaujolais, well… enjoy, I guess.
Of course, like anything else, there’s plenty of less-than-stellar Beaujolais to be had. There’s even a good amount of absolute crap. Funny thing is, much of the dreck on the market, as well as Beaujolais’ tarnished image can be attributed to the aforementioned Monsieur DuBoeuf. But that’s another story and we’re here to sing the praises of real, honest Beaujolais.
So, how does one describe Beaujolais, in its essence? While it approaches pinot noir (especially Burgundy) in its precocity, that indescribable, agile lightness that even the most powerful Burgundies can possess, it really can’t be described in terms of anything else, can’t be approximated or imitated. Beaujolais is Beaujolais.
Think of bright, perfectly ripe red fruit, walking a taut tightrope of exuberant freshness. Lush, generous, muscular berry flavors with a lazer, razor edge of tartness. Not voluptuous in its richness, not “big.” Supple, lean, muscular, flexible. A ballet dancer of a wine.
Think of the joyful, bursting-with-sunshine, meaty, satisfying sweetness and texture of perfectly ripe cherries and raspberries, with a crystalline edge of tanginess and the firmness of cool granite. Our friend Oliver Beck nailed it when he called Beaujolais “granite candy.”
Granite candy. Hold that thought – there’s more to follow. In the meantime, pick up a bottle of Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais at your friendly neighborhood PCC – a glass is worth a bazillion words.
Finally, the “Primeur” (nouveau) wines of both Dupeuble and Pierre Chermette arrive on Thursday, the 17th. These wines deliciously shatter any myths about both Beaujolais and Nouveau. Fill your glass with the lovely truth. Enjoy.