Beaujolais is the southern-most section of Burgundy, and its wines are made from the gamay grape. Though Beajoulais is a Bergundian red, it is not pinot noir. It is, however, an affordable substitute. Beajoulais wines range from light-bodied quaffing wines to medium-bodied reds of some complexity and finesse. Beajoulais is broken into four styles and quality levels: “Nouveau” is released on the third Thursday of November in the year the grapes were picked. “Beaujolais” is blended from the entire region and is the most common. “Beaujolais Villages” is an appellation that covers several dozen rated microregions. The “crus” from ten specific towns, labeled as the name of that town, are the top-end. And you can even put a chill on them on a hot day—which seems a long way off, I know.
This month’s selections are available at The Wine Shop, 17521 Minnetonka Blvd., Mtka., 952-988-9463
Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages 2005, $12.99
This has a beautiful bright red color with a nose of strawberries and cherries. It’s light bodied and easy to drink, so you might need two. Try it on its own after work or with sautéed chicken breast.
Georges Duboeuf Cote-de Brouilly 2005, $10.99
Clean purple, with cherry and grape on the nose and taste buds. It reminds me of the adult version of fresh berries. It has a lot more body and could age a year more in the bottle. It would be great with a turkey or ham sandwich (maybe the Monday night after Easter).
Chateau de Grand Pre Fleurie 2003, $16.49
It smells like summer—flowers and a hint of peach—and is dark purple in the glass with delicate blackberry and subtle minerals. It has a bit more age and is medium-bodied, but more complex than I would have thought. Serve with lamb chops—a nice alternative to more expensive pinot noir.
Carquelin Moulin a Vent 2005, $16.99
Moulin a Vent is known as The King of Beaujolais for a reason. This wine offers the most complexity of the four wines. Its nose is flowers, fruit, spice, and earthy minerals. Like the Fleurie, it could handle a couple more years in the bottle. I would drink it now with strong cheeses or a gamey meat.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes winetastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.