When most people think of the region of Beaujolais, what comes to mind is the fresh fruity red wine called Beaujolais Nouveau, released annually on the third Thursday of November to much fanfare. It is a worldwide celebration with Beaujolais Nouveau arrival parties starting just after midnight.
But, for wine drinkers in- the-know, the Beaujolais Crus, especially the spectacular 2009 vintage, are the ones to be stocking up on right now. The Beaujolais crus represent the finest vineyards of the region. The wines, made from 100 percent Gamay grapes, tend to be fuller, denser, more aromatic and complex than other Beaujolais wines. Each is named after the area where the grapes are grown. There are ten crus, most referring to the villages where they are located: Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte-de-Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié and Saint-Amour.
Beaujolais crus are the perfect all-occasion, all-season wines. They are best served lightly chilled and pair well with dishes from light pastas and charcuterie to roasted meats and grilled poultry or fish.
Recently, we attended a rooftop Beaujolais Barbecue in Manhattan at Glass House. The wines were a perfect complement to barbecued ribs, roasted pork, lemongrass chicken and pistachio encrusted scallops. These wines do not overpower the palate or the dish.
Labels to look out for when purchasing Beaujolais Crus: Georges Duboeuf (Beaujolais’ most renowned negociant) Jean-Paul Brun, Henry Fessy, Domaine Chrisian Ducroux, Marcel & Mathieu Lapierre and Alain Coudert, among others.
Beaujolais Crus also provide great value, especially for this year’s great vintage. Average retail price per bottle ranges from $12.99 to $21.99 depending on the producer. Now that is something to celebrate!