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Many of us were introduced to Beaujolais through the much marketed Nouveau. Decades ago now, I remember seeing one half of the local Roches Stores (now Debenhams) front window absolutely packed with colourful bottles in November. And the hype was inescapable with all kinds of contrived races set up to be first with the Nouveau in Cork or Ireland.
And that Nouveau is is still going strong all around the world. So too is the region itself, though it might not have the gravitas of Bordeaux or neighbouring Burgundy. There is a continuity of quality here, almost a guarantee of it if you move up a step or two to the Villages or to one of the ten crus.
Read all about the May Beaujolais Masterclass in Cork here. And three more (different) Beaujolais, including two crus, here
Chateau du Chatelard Beaujolais Villages, Cuvée Les Vieilles Vignes 2013, 12.5%, €15.95 Karwig Wines
Colour is ruby and the aromas, not very intense, are of strawberries and raspberries. On the harmonious palate, you meet the expected fruits, fine tannins, the typical acidity (good for food) and a decent finish. At a recent masterclass in Cork, Liam Campbell said that Villages may be better value than the basic Beaujolais. This perfectly balanced bottle is the proof and Highly Recommended!
It is produced from old vines (up to 85 years old) and is hand-harvested. I came across some sediment, so decanting is advised. Liam also mentioned that low tannin wines may be served at lower temperatures, between 13 and 15 degrees, and his favourite pairing is with tuna steak. The producers recommend “the cuisine of spring and summer”, listing white and red meats, charcuterie and cheese. Over to you!
Chateau du Chatelard Cuvée Les Vieux Granits Fleurie 2013, 13%, €20.30 Karwig Wines
Gorgeous carmine colour catches the eye and red fruits lead the aromas, quite beguiling overall. The harmonious palate features red fruits mainly in a delightful balance of fruit and acidity, gentle tannins too, elegant and silky all the way to a superb finish. Highly Recommended.
Fleurie is one of the ten Beaujolais crus and this is made from hillside vineyards of old pink granite and is hand-harvested. They recommend trying it with white and red meats, cheese, even chocolate desserts.
Baronne du Chatelard Cuvée Les Pentes Brouilly, 13%, €19.25 Karwig Wines
Brouilly is the largest and most southerly of the Beaujolais crus and this bottle, from plots located at the heart of the appellation, has more going for it on all counts, except perhaps for acidity, than the Fleurie. If I had to pick one of the three, this would be it. But no problem with either of the other two.
It has more to offer in colour, aroma and is better on the palate with a longer finish. It will suit those who like a little more presence in the mouth. Colour is an intense ruby and then come big fruit aromas (berries and plums), vibrant fruit flavours, a hint of minerality and good finish. This elegant medium bodied wine, with rounded tannins, is Highly Recommended.
Serve, they say, at 14-16 degrees with roasted meats in sauce, poultry, and cheeses. I noticed some sediment, so do decant. Tomorrow, watch out for another three from Beaujolais, including two crus.