Cru Beaujolais: some factoids

A few quick things about cru Beaujolais, the smaller, distinctive growing areas of Beaujolais.

1. The Burgundy producers are coming!
Prices are relatively low for grapes and real estate. That fact has attracted investment to the region from producers looking to expand: Earlier this year the Champagne (and Burgundy) house Henriot purchased the Chateau de Poncie, a key property in Fleurie. When I asked Joseph Henriot earlier this year about the motivation for the purchase, he pointed to the distinctive terroir (he loves Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon as well as Fleurie) but also the tremendous discount the property had compared to land in Burgundy.

2. Cru Beaujolais can age, maybe even longer than you think
Louis Jadot was one of the earliest notable Burgundy producers to acquire property in the Beaujolais region, notably in Moulin-A-Vent. I tried their Chateau des Jacques 1996 a few months ago and was wildly impressed. Jacques Lardiere, the winemaker (pictured right), told me that the best wines can last decades!

3. I’ve got a cru Beaujolais vertical going–in magnum

Magnums, twice the size of regular bottles, are generally baubles for captains of industry. But you can get a top cru Beaujolais in magnum for less than a lot of second label Bordeaux. Combine this price appeal with the age-worthiness and you can understand why I have several magnums of Deccombes, Desvignes, and a mini-vertical (three vintages!) of Clos de la Roilette cuvee tardive. Cru Beaujolais magnums also make great gifts; to wit, I just got a magnum of Lapierre Morgon 07 at Appellation Wine and Spirits yesterday.

4. Gamay is wildly food friendly!
And at 12.5 percent alcohol, you can have a couple of glasses too and still be able to function after dinner.

5. It’s mostly less expensive than red Burgundy!

6. How would you change the region?
In 1395, Duke Philip the Bold outlawed the humble gamay grape from Burgundy, protecting the premium pinot noir by fiat. What would you do differently if you were the Duke of Beaujolais? I asked Jacques Lardiere what he would do differently if he made his wine in Moulin-a-Vent outside of the appellation system, which mandates certain controls, such as planting the grape gamay. He said, “I would plant pinot noir.”

Don’t forget to join us tonight at 8 PM on Twitter Taste Live raising a glass of local wine or a cru Beaujolais! use #ttl in your comments or follow me.

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4 Responses to “Cru Beaujolais: some factoids”

  1. I’ve always been a fan of cru Beauj, but have been drinking a LOT more of it lately with Burdundy and CA Pinot Noir prices going through the roof. For the 05s I’ve had lately, prices have been $14-19, and for the most part the wines are far better than an pinots I have had at the same price. Gamay is very versatile with food as you point out. I know 05 was a ripe year there; will the 06’s be just as good?

  2. Thanks for the tip on Gamay, I’ll try that at my next meal with friends visiting.

  3. […] Cru Beaujolais: some factoids […]

  4. Been a fan of cru beaujolais when I first tasted a Jadot Fleurie 2000. Went back and bought a case and drank it up way too fast. Hard to find cru’s of good years here in Hawaii–but found the Jadot Chateau de jacques 05′, which was rated by Wine Spectator as one of 50 best wines of 2007. Bought a couple cases and now have just three precious bottles left. And they are improving. I think 08′ crus will be way better than 06′ and 07′.


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