Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wine’ing Wednesdays: Time for the Beach & Beaujolais!

Spring, or if you are in New York City today, Summer has Sprung! Is it time to put away all the reds to make room for the light and bright whites? Not so fast. Save some room on that rack for fresh yet fruity Beaujolais! (pronounced Bo-zho-lay)

Suggested Dinner Pairings: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Summer Vegetables, Veal Milanese served over Fresh Pasta with a spicy Arrabbiata Sauce, Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hen with an Orange-Cranberry Chutney, or may I suggest just another glass of Beaujolais???

 Beaujolais 101

Beaujolais is the classic expression of the Gamay grape. These red wines (labeled simply "Beaujolais") are approachable, grapey, and fun: ideal for low-pressure sipping.
Beaujolais-Villages is a step up. Compared to basic Beaujolais, the rules for Beaujolais-Villages wines are more strict. Villages wines are produced in far smaller quantities.

Beaujolais Nouveau is perhaps the most gulpable wine made anywhere, and it should be drunk very soon after its release, which occurs each year on the third Thursday of November.

Beaujolais Blanc is most often made from Chardonnay. Aligoté is allowed in the Beaujolais region as well, but Aligoté-based Beaujolais Blanc is a rarity. Like many wine regions, Beaujolais vinifies the versatile Chardonnay grape in a variety of styles; one of our top picks this week is a full-bodied yet agile example of Chardonnay-based white Beaujolais.

Cru Beaujolais is the highest quality designation in the region, and the most exciting bottles of Beaujolais tend to come from the ten Crus. Each of these appellations has its own distinctive character. Below, a bit of background on our three favorite Crus.