Thursday, December 8, 2011

"BEAUJOLAIS CRUS" STEAL THE SHOW by Philip S. Kampe

When a group of wine journalists and other trade guests are invited to a BEAUJOLAIS CRU tasting, cooking presentation and luncheon at DAVID BOULEY'S TEST KITCHEN in New York, one could only imagine the best.

Thanks to MICHAEL GOLDMAN, founder of HauteLife Press and MARIE-CHRISTINA BATICH of SOPEXA, this idea turned into a reality.

The event Invite reads: DURING THE COURSE OF THIS VERY SPECIAL EVENT THAT INCLUDES A COOKING DEMONSTRATION AND LUNCH, EACH OF THE 10 BEAUJOLAIS CRUS WILL BE TASTED BY GUESTS. A SOMMELIER WILL GUIDE GUESTS THROUGH A SELECTION OF BEAUJOLAIS CRUS, SPEAKING ABOUT THEIR FLAVOR PROFILES AS THEY RELATE TO FOOD. A MEMORABLE BEAUJOLAIS CRUS LUNCH WILL FOLLOW WHERE THE DISHES ON THE MENU BY CHEF BOULEY ARE DESIGNED TO REFLECT THE ORIGIN AND TERROIR OF THE BEAUJOLAIS REGION AND ARE MATCHED WITH BEAUJOLAIS CRUS.

Chef DAVID BOULEY was on hand to explain his cooking techniques and pairing ideas for the meal that accompanied the BEAUJOLAIS CRUS. The food and pairings were wonderful, but, the STARS of the day were the "10 BEAUJOLAIS CRUS".

A little Beaujolais History:
* The Beaujolais region was first occupied by the Romans
* From the 7th century to the Middle Ages, Benedictine Monks performed wine making
* During the 10th century the area was named Beaujolais after the commune of Beaujeu in Rhone
* Beaujolais was ruled by the Lords of Beaujeu until the 15th century
* In the 15th century the land was ceded to the Duchy of Burgundy
* In 1395 Philip the Bold banned the cultivation of the Gamay grape in Burgundy, which borders Beaujolais
* Since that point in time, Beaujolais has been associated with the Gamay grape
* The soils of the Beaujolais divide the region in half
* The 10 Beaujolais Crus are produced in the north on granite based soils
* Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages are produced in the south on limestone soils
* The sea breezes from the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans provide both temperate and continental influences
* 98% of all vines in Beaujolais are Gamay, while the remaining 2% are Chardonnay

The 10 Beaujolais Crus differ from commune to commune. Each CRU is unique,as discussed below.

BROUILLY represents 20% of the Beaujolais Crus area. Mount Brouilly is 1500 feet high and a focal point in Brouilly. The area produces more wine than any other Cru region and is known for elegant and mature wines that are light and lively.
PROSPER MAUFOUX, BROUILLY 2009 ($12.99)is a ripe, soft, fruity, acidic, meaty wine with lots of expression on the nose. It is a perfect food wine.

CHENAS is the smallest of the Cru wine growing areas. Wines from the Chenas are the most rare of the Crus and the most sophisticated stylistically. Some vintages can be suitable for cellaring for up to 15 years. The land is small and the taste on the palate is big.
DOMAINE SANCY, CHENAS 2009 ($12.99) is a very acidic wine that is ripe with blueberry and blackberry overtones. The slopes at Domaine Sancy face south, thus creating a complex wine with aging potential.

CHIROUBLES wines are influenced by the granite soil and higher elevation than the other Crus. The wines tend to be delicate and light bodied. Chiroubles wines are known for their delicate perfume that violet aroma. These wines are soft and easy to drink.
CHRISTOPHE PACALET, CHIROUBLES 2010 ($16.99) is a dry wine that is grown on very steep slopes at a high elevation. The wine is crisp and clean with violet overtones.

COTES de BROUILLY is located on the higher slopes of the extinct volcano Mount Brouilly. The area is known as the GRAND CRU of Beaujolais, thus, creating wines that are full of fruit, rich, flavorful and delicate.
NICILE CHANRION, COTES de BROUILLY 2010 ($17.99) is a great vintage. The wine is acidiic, deeply concentrated, well structured and meaty.

FLEURIE wines have a velvety texture with a fruity and floral bouquet. Fleurie can be divided into two zones, the higher near La Maddone, produces lighter and more aromatic wines, while the lower elevation grapes produce fuller bodied-wines.
DOMAINE CHIGNARD, FLEURIR 2010 ($19.99) is an elegant, bright, fruity wine that reminds one of a Burgundy. Domaine Chignard wines are known for clean, easy drinking style. The 2010 vintage, loaded with bright fruit, is one of the best in recent years.

JULIENAS wines are robust and full-bodied. The wines are known for their spiciness and natural vanilla flavors. The Cru is based on the village named after Julius Ceaser and is believed to be the first site planted for grapes after the Roman conquest of Gaul.
JOSEPH DROUHIN, JULIENAS 2009 ($17.99) is a very powerful, rich, silky wine that tastes like blackberries covered with a pinch of salt.

MORGON, the second largest wine growing region in Beaujolais, produces varied wines. In the east and far west, the wines are softer and aromatic compared to the heavier, cherry like wines in the west. The wines in the west are often compared to Burgundies.
DOMAINE de la CHAPONNE, MORGON 2009 ($13.99) is round, creamy wine that is loaded with red fruit. On the nose, dried fruit prevails. Concentrated cherries dominate the palate with a hint of leather and steak juice.

MOULIN-a-VENT is the most celebrated of the Beaujolais Crus. Magnesium in the soil creates a unique wine profile. This full-bodied wine has hints of spice on the palate.
DOMAINE des COTES de la MOLIERE, MOULIN-a-VENT 2010 ($18.99) is a rich, big, flavorful dark red fruit wine. The unique flavor tastes like baked cherries mixed with salted peanuts.

REGNIE wines are known to be aromatic and well balanced with red current and raspberry flavors. Regnie is the newest Cru (1988) to be recognized. Local opinion is that Regnie was the first vineyard planted by the Romans.
DOMAINE ROCHETTE, REGNIE 2009 ($13.99) is an acidic, bright wine that has raspberry and strawberry hints mixed with smoked wood and wet stone.

SAINT-AMOUR is the most northerly Cru and one of the smallest. Two methods of vinification exist in Saint-Amour. One creates lighter, fuller wines that should be consumed within two years,while the other method creates richer, bigger wines that can be stored for up to five years.
CHATEAU des RONTETS, SAINT-AMOUR 2009 ($18.99) is a biodynamic wine with a small production of only 500 bottles. Good acidity paired with tones of red currant and strawberry make this an interesting wine that can be stored for up to eight years.

By LAW, grapes from both BEAUJOLAIS and CHAMPAGNE must be hand picked. These are the only two regions in France that this law is applied to, which helps make Beaujolais Cru so special.

The CRUS of BEAUJOLAIS often do not get the RESPECT they DESERVE. High acidity makes these wines food friendly, versatile and reliable. Plus the wines are affordable.

When you visit your local wine ship, consider experimenting with all "10 BEAUJOLAIS CRUS regions. You get a good bang for your buck and you will be Pleasantly Suprised.

PHILIP S. KAMPE
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com
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