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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Beaujolais - Beaujolais wines. Beaujolais Wines on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Beaujolais Nouveau
Beaujolais -The wines.
Beaujolais, among the well known wines from Burgundy. We know the light, dry, red wines that are Beaujolais-Villages AOC and or the Beaujolais Nouveau; however, there are ten other well-known Beaujolais AOC wines from the area including, Brouilly, Fleurie, and Morgon among others. If you are in the area, try the different Beaujolais wines, and for a local digestif try their local Marc de Beaujolais. The names of the best Beaujolais wines are at the end of this link.

Beaujolais Nouveau
One of the most famous wines in all of Burgundy, even though it is far from the best of the region’s wines is Beaujolais Nouveau. Beaujolais Nouveau is bottled immediately after fermentation and drunk without any aging.  By strict French definition this wine should be called a primeur; however, most people, including myself, would be hard pressed to remember the difference between a Beaujolais Primeur and a Beaujolais Nouveau.  French regulations or not it is Nouveau Beaujolais to nearly everyone.
Photograph courtesy of Hajime NAKANO FF

Beaujolais Nouveau is a marketing manager's success story.  Thirty or forty years ago Beaujolais Nouveau was a local new wine and nothing else.  Outside of the immediate area, no one had heard of it, but now special dinners will be held on the third Thursday in November at midnight from New York to Tokyo when the new Beaujolais Nouveau is introduced.  The noise that surrounded a new Beaujolais Nouveau has quietened in the last few years; nevertheless, the extraordinary success of this simple light wine is now a part of wine history.
Beaujolais wines on French menus:

Le Pied de Cochon Rôti, Sauce Beaujolais, Spaetzlés Maison – Roast pig’s trotter served with a Beaujolais sauce and the restaurant’s distinctive take on Spaetzlés.  Spaetzlés are small dumplings from the Alsace; they look something like overweight bumpy noodles and will be served as a garnish instead of potatoes or rice.  Despite their shape, they are made, like most other dumplings, with flour, eggs, and water or milk; some may be flavored with herbs or mushrooms.

Steak Charolais, Lard, Oignons Confits, St Marcellin, Sauce Beaujolais A Charolais steak prepared with bacon,  confit, slowly cooked onions, the soft cow’s milk St Marcellin cheese and served with a Sauce Beaujolais.

Millefeuille de Carpe Sauce Beaujolais-Villages – Carp, the fish, thinly cut as millefeuilles inter-leafed with vegetables and served with a Beaujolais-Village sauce.
    The label from a bottle of Beaujolais Village. FF
Sandre de la Dombes Sauce Beaujolais Blanc  -  Zander in the USA and Pike Perch in the UK caught or farmed in the wetlands of the Dombes (near Lyon) and served with a white Beaujolais sauce

Pièce de Bœuf Grillée Sauce BeaujolaisA unique cut from the rump and considered the butcher’s choice served with a Sauce Beaujolais.

When choosing a Beaujolais wine there are the best, the Crus, and then the good, the Beujolais Villages AOC.

The 10 Cru Beaujolais:

The Cru Beaujolais are considered the best of all the Beaujolais wines; nevertheless, you need an up-to-date wine book or a good friend who is an expert.  The variations that include the vintage and the vintner means that just picking a name and a year will not necessarily buy you a good wine. If you see a famous wine over five years old discounted in a supermarket leave it for others. 

Caveat Emptor: A cheap wine from a great vintage and great vintner with a great taste would have been snapped up by the French connoisseurs on the day the wine went on sale. In France, there are few bargains in AOC graded wines.

These are the ten crus.
Brouilly; Chénas; Chiroubles; Côte de Brouilly; Fleurie; Juliénas; Moulin-à-Vent; Morgon;  Régnié; Saint-Amour.

The Beaujolais Village wines:

The Beaujolais Village wines can be excellent, but here, more even than the crus, you need that up-to-date- wine book or friend who is a wine expert. In a restaurant a good sommelier may also help with the choice if he or she is given a budget.

Les Ardillats; Beaujeu; Blacé; Cercié; Chânes;  La Chapelle-de-Guinchay; Charenta ; Denicé; Emeringes;  Jullié;  Lancié; Lantignié; Leynes; Marchampt; Montmelas-Saint-Sorlin; Odenas; Le Perréon; Pruzilly; Romanèche-Thorins; Quincié-en-Beaujolais; Régnié-Durette; Rivolet; St-Amour-Bellevue;
St-Didier-sur-Beaujeu; St-Etienne-des-Oullières; St-Etienne-la-Varenne; St-Symphorien-d’Ancelles; St-Vérand; St-Julien; St-Leger; Salles-Arbuissonnas-en-Beaujolais; Vaux-en-Beaujolais; Vauxrenard; Villié-Morgon.

More about the Beaujolais Nouveau.

It is said that during a great meal with excellent service and good company the second bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau achieves greatness. There are also stories of those who have found great truths in a third bottle;.however, they were probably drunk at the time. In the same area, there are many fine wines, and as you can see from the wines noted above you do not even have to drink Beaujolais Nouveau unless you want to.
Beaujolais wine aging in barrels.

Beaujolais produces more wine than the Burgundy wine regions of Chablis, Côte d'Or and Mâconnais put together. This possible as the  region of Beaujolais was already cultivated by the Romans who planted the areas along its trading route up the Saône valley.  The Roman vineyard Brulliacus is located on the hillside of Mont Brouilly and the Romans also planted vineyards in other areas that are now Beaujolais. From the 7th century through the Middle Ages, most of the viticulture and wine-making was done by the Benedictine monks

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Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010,2017.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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