A Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages will set you back
about eleven bucks. The Beaujolais Villages from Maison Louis Jadot can be
found for under ten.
Jadot’s more upscale Beaujolais, its Chateau des Jacques
lineup of Beaujolais crus, retails in the low $20 range. Ditto the Beaujolais
crus from Duboeuf. I found the Duboeuf Beaujolais crus Brouilly for $23.
Those who equate price with quality might surmise Beaujolais,
even at the top end, has little to recommend it other than price. I would beg
to differ. Beaujolais is the perfect summer wine.
First and foremost, quality runs very high throughout the
Beaujolais district, situated at the southern tip of France’s Burgundy region. The
vast difference in price between Beaujolais and the red Burgundies of the Cote
d’Or can be attributed to the grapes used in production.
The Cote d’Or Burgundies are made from Pinot Noir, Beaujolais
from gamay. Pinot Noir produces a deeper, more tannic red wine that often
improves dramatically with age. The best can age for decades.
Gamay delivers a lighter, crisper red wine that is delicious
from the moment it is bottled. A few of the crus Beaujolais, particularly from
the villages of Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon, improve with age but for the most
part Beaujolais is a “now” wine.
Its beauty is its freshness. Beaujolais is exceptionally
versatile, as well. In summer months Burgundians serve it chilled. It can be
served with meat or fish, and it is often served at the end of the meal with
cheese. Its innate fruitiness allows it to complement slightly sweet sauces,
while its savory side makes it a strong match for earthy dishes, game birds,
rabbit and, of course, mushrooms.
Even at the villages level, its lowest, the wines tend to be
well balanced and drinkable.
Then there is the price. Delicious wines in the $10 range are
a rare commodity. Except in Beaujolais.
Connect with Robert on Twitter where he tweets as @WineGuru