Meet the Reds: Beaujolais

With our trip through the Alphahol complete, at least this round, I thought it’d be nice to take a break from cocktails and, instead, discuss a gentler subject: wine. Since I’m more a fan of reds than white, this month I’ll pick a red a week and chat a little about it. Hopefully you’ll share your favorites with me in the comments.

Beaujolais is a Burgundy wine made from the Gamay grape in the southern portion of the French Burgundy district. It’s not generally an aged wine, with 5 years being the upper reaches of it’s optimum life-span. With it’s very fruity nose and hints of dark cherry, the flavor can be fruity and light or oaky with a hint of pepper. It’s definitely a dry red, not sweet, with a light body that is meant to be served chilled, but not ice-cold.

Like many of the Burgundy table wines, Beaujolais is a good all-meal wine as it pairs well with grilled red meats, white fish, cheeses and cold meat dishes without overpowering any of it.

My go-to Beaujolais is the Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. The one in house right now is a 2005, so an older Beaujolais but according to the website it was an excellent year weather-wise for reds which is probably why this one is still so very drinkable. What I love about it is that it works well to cook with and to drink, is easily spotted by it’s black ink on yellowed parchment label and can be found in my local grocery store for under $20 a bottle.

Make sure to check out their website for more information about this vineyard and it’s history. I love that the vintage notes go all the way back to 1860 and that they seem honest: not every year was a good year, but for most they were able to find something worthwhile in the grapes. Like the 1877 vintage where the vines were affected by frost but still describe the grapes as “elegant.” Or the 1915 vintage that mentions the war and that women were largely responsible for the harvest.