For many wine lovers the name Beaujolais is nearly synonymous with plonk, which many attribute to lackisdaiscal farming, over production, sub-standard winemaking & a perception of gross manipulation in the winery.
I am one of those people who likes to dig around for wines which over deliver in quality, especially for the dollar spent. Beaujolais is one of those areas where one can still find an amazing wine with interesting-ness, delicious-ness, food friendliness & sensational gulp-ability AND still at a very reasonable price.
For those not that familar with this region & its wines, Beaujolais is located in the southern part of Burgundy, France. Interestingly I have heard more than one wine aficionado hypothesize that this region’s Gamay Noir grape variety is a mutation of Pinot Noir, (which would at least partially explain the innate finesse & umami of the resulting wines).
Geologically, the region of Beaujolais showcases a shift from the Chablis to Cote d’Or limestone to dark granitic soils, which carry through to the northern Rhone Valley to the south.
In addition & fortunately for us, there is a growing core of producers who are raising the bar for quality of Beaujolais & its wines through passion, dedication & an almost philisophical “back to basics” culture in both the vineyard & the winery.
Leading the charge is a group of vignerons in the Cru village of Morgon. who are affectionately referred to as the “Gang of Four” (Lapierre, Foillard, Thevenet & Breton). Their spirit, their strong wine culture & huge, ever growing following abroad has thankfully set the table & open the door for others to follow.
(As a side note, I have been fortunate to have some older Marcel Lapierre & Jean Foillard Morgons & were amazed at how Pinot Noir-like they get with 12 to 15 years of bottle age., which further hints the Pinot-Gamay genetic thing might be plausible).
In addition there are a growing number of producers from other parts of the Beaujolais appellation also creating benchmarks such as Diochon (in Moulin-a-Vent), Chignard (Fleurie) & Chateau Thivin (Cote de Brouilly).
My “Go To” VALUE selection, however, has been & will be the simply labeled Beaujolais from Damien Dupeuble. His wines are all about delicious-ness, purity, delightful refreshing-ness & gulp-ability. Our slogan is….serve it slightly chilled…AND serve it often.
Now each of these are imported into the U.S. by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants. Although he is not the only importer of good Beaujolais, I have yet to find others (including from him) which inspire me as much.
We will, however, keep searching & will certainly let you know when we find another.
Until then, please enjoy!