Thursday, November 15, 2007

A-E-I-O-U and sometimes why?... Unpacking Beaujolais one vowel at a time

Do you ever look at a word and think, "wow there are a lot of vowels in that word." Well, okay maybe not. But I can tell you that from being a first grade teacher for 3 years, it's a habit I just can't seem to break. Teaching children about vowels is an endlessly frustrating and hilarious task. But somehow by the end of the year, all the students know about those magical letters: a-e-i-o-u and sometimes y; the glue that allows us to make all kinds of words both big and small.

A bottle of Beaujolais is usually made out of the Gamay grape;

Except if you get a bottle of Beaujolais Blanc, which is made from Chardonnay and Aligote.

If you want something special, go for a Cru Beaujolais (the 10 top villages get this region).

Or you can try Beaujolais-Villages, a step up from the regular variety.

Unfortunately Beaujolais can be easily overlooked as a "simple" wine.

Why you should NOT go out and buy a bottle of Beaujolais- Nouveau* - Resist the gimmick and go for the good stuff. Plus you will be doing your part to reduce carbon emissions.

*A quick lesson on Beaujolais Nouveau: After the harvest the the grapes become wine through a process called carbonic maceration. This means that the grapes were left hole during the fermentation process. The juice in each grape ferments inside the skin. Because the skins were not smashed up in the mixture, the wine that results is not as tannic. It has a light fruity style. This wine is then bottled and sent around the world for the Beaujolais Release Day (the 3rd Thursday in November). I love rituals and I love celebrations, especially ones that involve wine, but this is one ritual that may need to be re-evaluated due to its negative environmental impact.

Tasting Notes:
2002, Louis Jadot, Chateau des Jacques Moulin-A-Vent
This is a delicious Beaujolais that is both fruity and woody. It has some richness to it that makes it taste a little like a Pinot Noir. It also still has good acidity and is great chilled down a bit.

2006 Jean Paul Brun, Beaujolais Blanc
This is a Chardonnay that exhibits bright sharp fruit flavors of apples and lemons. It's not buttery it is fresh.

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