Regions January 20, 2017

Kosher Beaujolais - Wine From France

By David Perelman

Finally. Kosher Wine from Beaujolais France


When you think of the main wine regions of France, the first two names that come to mind are Bordeaux and Burgundy. After the two big B’s one ventures to Alsace, Provence, or the Rhone Valley. Buried underneath the big name regions of France is a region mostly untapped by the kosher market and one that is underrated in its ability to produce wonderful “drink now” wines. That region is Beaujolais.

The region of Beaujolais is located in the eastern part of France, in the north of Lyon, on the northern tip of Burgundy, and southern tip of the Rhone Valley. Sandwiched between two powerhouse regions of France, Beaujolais produces red wines from the Gamay grape and white wines from the Chardonnay grape. The region is picturesque with plenty of sunshine, rolling hills, and valleys. The region is only 67 square miles which is as large as any appellation in Burgundy. People have been making supple and fruity wines here since the times of the ancient Romans. There are less than 3,000 winegrowers in Beaujolais and the region has only 12 appellations and 10 crus. The terrain in Beaujolais is broken up into two parts, the north and the south. The north is made up of mainly granite and limestone and has the perfect growing conditions of moderate temperatures and lots of sunshine. The south has richer sandstone-filled soil, is more flat of a region and has some clay and limestone soil as well. Besides the use of only Gamay in the red wines, the rules of the region require picking and sorting the grapes by hand at harvest, which means that only the best grapes make it to the crush.

The Gamay grape is a thin-skinned, low tannin grape. This varietal is known to be an ancient cross between pinot noir and a grape called Gouais. The difference between Gamay and pinot noir is that Gamay ripens two weeks before pinot and is significantly easier to grow and cultivate than The Devil’s Grape (another name for pinot noir), making the production of wine much easier and more consistent.

The region’s most popular type of wine is the Beaujolais Nouveau, or put in more English terms, simple gamay wine that is supposed to be consumed as fresh and close to release as possible. More than one third of all the wine produced in Beaujolais is a Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is made in bulk quantities and meant to be purposely lighter and fruitier, almost akin to vin de pays. For this wine, the grapes are harvested between late August and early September and fermented for only a few days. The wine is then released on the third Tuesday in November. This wine is the earliest released in all of France for that vintage year and is meant to be consumed as early and fresh as possible.

In the kosher world we have two available wines from Beaujolais.

Featured Beaujolais

 

The first one is Louis Blanc Cote de Brouilly Beaujolais 2013. The Cote de Brouilly is one of the ten crus inside of Beaujolais and their wines are known for more deep concentration and less earthiness than other areas of Beaujolais.

My tasting notes are as follows: Interesting color, garnet in the middle, fading to brown at the rim even though the wine is only four years old. I don’t normally mention this but the wine has top of the line legs, they go on for days. I love the smell of this wine - fresh flowers - as if they are still in the ground where the smell is part floral, part earth, with freshly picked cherries and red grapes. There is a sweetness on the nose, almost like red licorice that is super nice, the mouth is silky light to medium bodied, with more fruit and flowers, and balanced. Not too much of anything, a touch of acid at the end, not tannic, but with a good to really good finish. Love this wine.

The second kosher wine from this region is Louis Blanc Duc de Pagny Beaujolais Nouveau, a Nouveau wine as we highlighted above. This wine is a 2016 and perfect for drinking right now. It was released in November 2016 and we have it available only two months later, which we are very proud of. Here are my tasting notes: This is what I call Minnesota Viking Purple - it’s bright, almost the same as the must-colored wine once it is poured over from the crush. The nose is bursting with cherry fruit, cherry pie, Marashino cherries, Hawaiian punch, pomegranate, and a hint of candy, a touch artificial. The mouth is light-bodied, and more cherries maybe also some strawberries and just lots of floral notes full of flowery goodness, very light on the acid, light on the tannins, and light on the finish. Simple mid palate but that's the point of this wine; it is supposed to be light and fruity and it’s made very well as a nouveau is intended to be. This is a fun, fruity, and enjoyable wine meant for light enjoyment and hits the spot.