ime is just disappearing; we just flew by National Merlot day (needs the PR boost) and today happens to be National Fast Food day, of all things...everything has its season, I suppose. l It is pretty rare, though, that part of a season is so defined by a beverage the way the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving are so clearly defined (and improved, if you've met my family) by Beaujolais.
"For a long time, I was popping a bottle of "Beaujolais"; now I find myself referring to the wine, the producer, the way I would a Grand Cru Burgundy - the Moron-Garcia, the Valma, the Cotton."
She would know...but she's not the only one...
Check out a few of our favorites below, or click here to see the full list!
FLEURIE ROCKS. It is without a doubt one of the most important crus of Beaujolais, home to some of its oldest and most hallowed vineyards. The pink granite soils lend an undeniable delicacy to the wines and the perfect whiff of smoke. Top producers here include Jean Foillard, Domaine Dutraive and Yvon Metras, each of whom craft indelible wines worthy of hoarding in your cellar.
Another to watch is Gregoire Hoppenot, one with a wonderfully elegant touch to his work. His Clos de l'Amandier is a monopole of his estate, from his oldest vines. Dark-fruited, smoky and minerally yet effortlessly light.
Next to Fleurie in importance is MORGON; whereas Fleurie tends to be brighter, more floral and perfumed, Morgon has classic Red Burgundy-esque pure red fruits. Marcel Lapierre is the shining star here, though some of our favorite winemakers like Mee Godard and Benoit Moreau (L'Arlesienne) are crafting superb wines from Morgon.
The Passerelle 577 from Mee Godard is a secret stunner - from carefully-selected the blue stone soils of her Côte du Puy, possibly her most stunning wine of all. Wondrous depth of fruits and floral aromas, balanced with beautiful lift and mineral strike. One to tuck away!
We turn to BROUILLY for deeper, more structured styles of Gamay; here we find blue stones in the vineyard reflecting the ample sunshine, providing more richness and spice to the wines. Red and dark fruits abound, and this is another beautiful shade of the Gamay grape if you want something that feels more immediately vinous.
Moron-Garcia creates one of our favorites, a beautiful introduction to one of the most exciting newer winemakers' style. Says Courtney of his Brouilly, "He's so attentive to what's happening in the vineyards, and it shows in his wines." So it should, as he utilizes the painstaking method of hand-clipping each grape from the cluster, the ultimate in quality control. Other standouts include the Bret Brothers and the more rustic Coudert.
Outside of the big 3, there are other crus we love like CHIROUBLES, CHENAS, REGNIE, JULIENAS, MOULIN-A-VENT and SAINT-AMOUR. It's also worth mentioning that sometimes (all too often) a Beaujolais-Villages is the perfect wine to pop and not feel guilty about; think of it like drinking a Barbera while you wait for your Barolos to soften in the cellar.
The L'Arlesienne Villages comes from a rare parcel atop the Morgon slope, high-altitude fruit lending an airy elegance to the cherry-red core of fruit.
With the holidays quickly arriving, this is a casual reminder of one of life's greatest [wine] lessons: big bottles show you care. Not only do MAGNUMS immediately pique everyone's interests, but when you get a taste of these, you're going to be incredibly happy you didn't just buy the puny regular-sized bottle.
Take the Lapierre Camille, for instance - old vines from Côte du Puy aged a full two years in large vats to soften and elevate the elegance of Lapierre's incredible fruit.