I’m sure that there are those who would not think of serving anything other than sparkling wine on Valentine’s Day. Likewise, big bold reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or sweet wines like Moscato d’Asti clearly have become iconic accompaniments to the holiday. But for some reason, when I think about Valentine’s Day, Cru Beaujolais is one of the first wines that comes to mind. Silky, soft, and elegant with flavors and aromas of ripe red berries and fresh picked flowers, it’s easy to find the romance in these wines.
This is the second time I’ve covered Cru Beaujolais on the site, and if you missed my first post, be sure to check it out here, it talks about some pretty awesome wines. In that article I mentioned that “Cru Beaujolais is made from only ten specific growing regions, and can be seen as the apex of wine produced here. Each of the individual regions brings a slightly different personality to their wines. Moving roughly north to south, the ten Crus are: Juliénas, Saint Amour, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Wines from these places are famous within the region and may or may not say Beaujolais on the label, and will certainly not state that the grape is Gamay. Although this might be confusing and frustrating at first, this ambiguous labeling is actually a good thing. Because so many people are unfamiliar with these wines, they are drastically underpriced, and you can often easily drink some of the finest wines of the region without having to venture out of the $20-30 price bracket, and some excellent wines may even be less.”
Today we’re talking about three more of the ten Crus, and as an extra Valentine’s Day bonus, each one is priced under $20, leaving you more money for roses and chocolates for that special someone. And what better way to start off than with a wine from the Cru, Saint Amour…
Wine #1: Domaine des Champs Grilles 2009 St. Amour Cru Beaujolais
This wine’s aroma is soft and somehow almost powdery. It shows a complex array of delicate red raspberries, crushed blueberries, violet petals, fresh orange peel, and a very faint hint of white pepper and vanilla.
The palate is silky and smooth with persistent dusty tannins. Driven by dried raspberry and blueberries, it also shows some interesting notes of cacao powder, white pepper, and fresh orange peel. Medium bodied, but with a certain ripe richness, this wine’s bright acidity and delicate tannins give it great depth and a very refined feel.
Worth Buying. 90 points.
Wine #2: Georges Duboeuf 2008 Régnié Cru Beaujolais
Sweet smelling notes of plump ripe strawberries and raspberries show initially on the nose. Red rose petals and violets seem to bloom out of the glass, with notes of Concord grapes and a subtle hint of limestone showing on the edges.
Ripe, soft and supple with a fresh acidity on the palate, this wine is defined by red fruit and flower petals. A hint of limestone along with its dusty tannins add some additional depth, which is further developed as notes of leather, mushrooms, and beet peels make an appearance toward the finish. This is an interesting wine with a surprising earthiness, offering a somewhat different departure from what most might expect from a Beaujolais.
Worth Trying. 87 points.
Wine #3: Mommessin Domaine de La Conseillere 2009 Juliénas Cru Beaujolais
Crushed raspberries and ripe strawberries define the aroma. Juicy notes of pomegranate and a faint tone of blueberry juice also show through with a deep floral quality and an edge of kitchen spice appearing as well.
Ripe, refined, soft, and elegant, this wine shows an incredibly bright and plush core of red fruit. A delicate spiciness and a juicy acidity give it a liveliness from the very first sip. Light bakery notes, hints of ground coffee, and white pepper then come together with red currant, red plum, and strawberry, creating a very enjoyable and captivating drinking experience. An elegant and silky wine with extremely subtle dusty tannins, this is an attractively demure Gamay that keeps your palate constantly moving and your mind thinking.
Worth Buying. 91 points.
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The Grapevine: What’s your experience with Beaujolais?