Every wine lover should experience a really good Beaujolais! For some time I have been posting reviews of 2009 Beaujolais. And I will have a few more as the last of the wines arrive in the next month or so. However, I cannot emphasize enough how some Beaujolais, and particularly some Cru Beaujolais, is one of the most under appreciated wines in the world. But don’t be intimidated by this. What it really means is that they are great values. Any one who enjoys Burgundian-style wines should love the fabulous Cru Beaujolais that can be drunk young for the gorgeous fruit or cellared for years to allow the wine to Pinotize as the French say. And Pinotize means that with bottle age the Gamay of Beaujolais takes on a character similar to the Pinot Noir of Burgundy.
In my initial article on Beaujolais several months ago, I talked about my experience with a single bottle of Faiveley 1964 Beaujolais-Villages Hospices de Beaune. It had been purchased in London probably sometime in the 1970s as part of a mixed lot. I had forgotten about it and when it turned up a few years ago I shared it with a few friends who love Burgundy. Actually, I poured it blind as a curiosity. I had opened it expecting that it might be dead, but to my surprise the bouquet was just stunning. So I served it first before serving some old Burgundies. Everyone thought it was an old Burgundy and we were all just amazed at how good the wine was at over 40 years of age! And, I mean no excuses for old age, the wine was Burgundian in character and really delicious. And it illustrates beyond question the ability of Beaujolais to Pinotize and keep for a very long time. After all, this was not a higher-rated Cru Beaujolais, but a Beaujolais-Villages!
And, of course, I have been saying over and over again that the 2009s are great. But I should also say that, like Burgundy, I buy Beaujolais every year. And, I do have certain favorites. They include Juliénas Cuvée Prestige from Clos Du Fief, Fleurie Cuvée Tardive from Domaine Roilette, and Morgons from the Gang of Four — Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thevenet, Guy Breton and Jean Foillard.
Just a few weeks ago I had a Michel Tête Clos de Fief 2004 Juliénas Cuvée Prestige. It was absolutely delicious. As always, it took a few years for the wine to lush up and get that real silky texture, but it’s there now. And as great as it is now, I have no doubt that it will Pinotize even more as it ages.
So whatever you do, give Beaujolais a try. Starting with the 2009s is a no-brainer. They are as easy on your wallet as they are on your palate. In today’s world that is a combination that can’t be beat!!
In Vino Veritas,