As promised in my last blog, I was visiting the Beaujolais region which lies between Burgundy and the Northern Rhone. I think the Beaujolais would prefer to be on their own, but we’ll see.
Great drive from the Gard through the through the Vallee du Rhone, on through the lovely Ardeche and into Northern Rhone. Couldn’t resist stopping off at Michel Chapoutier’s Crozes Hermitage ‘Petite Ruche’ vineyard. A stunning operation with almost as good quality at nearby Hermitage, but of course de not as good as the legendary Cote Rotie and Condrieu vineyards.
Only Syrah grapes permitted, showing blackcurrant and raspberry flavours, and finishing with a bit of pepper. Great visit. (Chapoutier Crozes Hermitages 2015 Waitrose £15.99)
Then into the Beaujolais and its 10 Crus. Julienas, Chiroubles, Regnie, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, China’s, Morgan, Moulin -a-Vent.
However, some may say it is 13, as you also have plain Beaujolais, Brouilly and Beaujolais Villages. What suits!
Virtually all wines are made from the low tannin Gamay grape, so don’t drink a 20 year old Beaujolais. 1% of Beaujolais are white using Chardonnay or Aligote, but I don’t think they are great.
I went to the Louis Tete winery at Saint-Didier- sur- Beaujeu, where they produce for Marks and Spencer.
The great thing about Beaujolais wines that they are better slightly chilled. Matt Walls in July’s Decanter has an excellent article about chilled red wines, and at what temperature they should be drunk.
I have more Beaujolais stories for next time. Then it’s back to UK!
Rhone and Beaujolais are two of France’s classic regions. The Gamay grape which is grown almost uniquely in Beaujolais, France, and now Oregan, U.S.A. is a grape that produces wines very much in sync with modern consumers – light in colour, lower in alcohol, little or mostly no oak used in the production so really zippy fruity wines that are easy to drink and adaptable to many foods from salads to lighter meat dishes.
A great opportunity still exists to get some fantastic PR by reigniting the Beaujolais Nouveau release on the third Thursday of November. It’s fun for consumers, an opportunity for staff to get involved and can generate sales that may not usually be available.
Rhone on the other hand offers much more robust wines mostly down the big red meat route – fantastic for the cooler Autumn into winter season.”
Alistair Morrell – Hospitality & Catering News, Wine & Drinks Editor
Ian Mitchell, Chairman, Bartlett Mitchell