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Beaujolais


Craig Camp
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Craig,

I was recently asked by a group in a wine class what grape variety of wine I have bought the most of in the last 12 months. My records show it was Gamay, overwhelmingly.

So maybe it is a sign of austere times. Or perhaps these wines fit better with our lighter cuisine. But, truthfully, its that I like Gamay; alot. And particularly Beaujolais.

But I'm not buying Debeouf or any of the normal standard bearers for the region; rather, the bottles I am accumulating are those from small artisans and growers and generally from the cru. These actually age very nicely while still providing nice drinking along the way.

I was somewhat surprised by the response I got when I said Gamay. The grape (and the region) have more than a few detractors. Even some of the folks who did not vocally respond to my answer, looked at me funny.

So, one of these days, I'll have them over for dinner and decant several bottles and see what kind of response I get when I serve it with food. Maybe, when I reveal the wines, I'll get a few more (but perhaps different) funny looks.

Best, Jim

www.CowanCellars.com

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Jim,

Like you, I've been buying and drinking a lot of Beaujolais of the non-industrial sort recently. These are not labels that will impress anyone but the geekiest, but they go wonderfully with every-day simple food like roast chicken or meatloaf and they are scandalously good values. A couple of recent favorites that have been exhaustively written up by you and others elsewhere on the wine-geek internet circuit, have been the Brun 2001 Beaujolais L'Ancien (which I've seen for $8.99 prior to case discount) and the Savoye 99 Morgon (around $12).

One thing I'd like to do is try these with some age on them, as all the ingredients for succesful aging seem to be there, but I'm finding it difficult to keep from drinking these beauties now.

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Count me in on the cru Beaujolais (and Gamay as F. Jim notes) bandwagon. When well made it happens to be one of those beautiful simple pleasures. Bloud and Janodet in Moulin-a-Vent and Piron in Morgon are among my favorites. Sometimes producers like this make wines that can challenge some pinot noir wines in complexity and have the ability to age beautifully.

Serious Beaujolais, the Loire (red and white) and Alsace continue to produce wines of great style and value - and are soundly ignored in the United States because of it. At least it keeps the price down.

Edited by Craig Camp (log)
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