Wine Talk

Snooth User: Melissa08

In need of Cru Beaujolais advice

Posted by Melissa08, Nov 28, 2014.

I've been trying wines from different Beaujolais regions and have yet to find one that I love. Here are the ones I've tried with disappointing results:

Clos de la Roilette Fleurie '13

Fessy Regnie Chateau des Reyssiers '11

Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages '11

Beaujolais Nouveau

With all these wines, the problem is that the wines don't have the vibrant red fruit notes that I love (strawberry, cranberry, raspberry).  At the holiday dinner last night I had the Chavannes Cote de Brouilly Cuvee Ambassades '13.  It had good fruit but was a tad dry for my palette.  The dryness subsided after awhile in the glass.  It was a hit with my family.

What varietals do you think would match my fruit-driven palette well, such as Saint Amour, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent,  Julienas, Chenas, Chiroubles and Brouilly?  My budget limit is $25.

Many thanks

Replies

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Reply by GregT, Nov 28, 2014.

What varietals do you think would match my fruit-driven palette well, such as Saint Amour, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent and Brouilly?  My budget limit is $25.

Not sure what that means. All of those are crus in the Beaujolais region. The grape variety (varietal is an adjective) is going to be Gamay or Chardonnay. So all of them will be the same. The differences between them depend on the producer and to some degree the characteristics of the particular cru. As a rule, the wines from places like Cote de Brouilly and especially St Amour, tend to be the lightest versions of the wines. Those from Morgon or Moulin tend to be heavier and more age-worthy. Fleurie is somewhere in between, but if you're drinking 2013, that's really young.

The cru wines are made completely differently from the nouveau wines so you can't really compare them. The cru wines are made in the same manner as a Burgundy, with which they have a lot in common. You need to find some better vintages and then age them for 10 years or so to see their character.

In no case is the wine going to be heavy, tannic, and sweet. The ripest vintages will still exhibit the acidity and bright cherry flavors of the grape, and the tannins won't be anything like say, Merlot or Nebbiolo.

Brun is a producer you might look at, as well as Chermette. But they make several different wines in the various crus and they're variable - both the bottling and the vintage matter.

As far as other grape varieties that are similar to some degree, that's harder. If you like more acidity and less tannin, look at things like Morelino de Scansano, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo Langhe, and Barbera to start, and even Pinot Noir. Also maybe St Laurent, Lagrein, and Graciano. However, all of those come in various iterations, so it's not really useful to talk about varieties alone - you have to include info about the producer, the vintage, and the particular bottling.

You can find good versions of all of them at or below $25. Stuff like Nebbiolo and even Barbera might be too dry for you, so I'd start with one of the others.

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Reply by duncan 906, Nov 30, 2014.

Ithink Gregt has a point about the older vintages.One of the nicest cru Beaujolais I had was the Herve Varenne Morgon from 2000 Just gorgeous,plenty of fruit plus subtle and delicate.

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Reply by JonDerry, Nov 30, 2014.

I'd recommend avoiding all Duboeuf and Beaujolais Nouveau if possible.

See if you can find any 2011 from Morgon that meets your budget, and if not look for 2012. Lapierre is a good producer you can look for. Foillard is great too, though perhaps a few dollars over budget.

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Reply by jaybird75, Nov 30, 2014.

Excuse me, Mr Jonderry, but I have been cellaring & drinking Duboeuf's Crus for years, and they have been outstanding. I have no idea what your comment has to do with anything. I have just finished my stash of '02s, while '05s, '08s, '09s and '11s are next up. I have other producers mixed in too.

To echo the above comments, the Crus are all Gamay grape, they are like baby Burgundies that do require cellaring to reach their peak, they do have a range of fuller to lighter bodies, but would never satisfy the acidity you're looking for (cranberry), especially not when young. I would only drink Beaujolais young in Nouveau (first year), Beauj. Village or just Beaujolais, and in the 2-4 year range.

You most likely need to look elsewhere as GregT said, though his recommendations are mostly Italian varieties. You also might like Zinfandels in the $15-$25 range, as those are usually fairly big-bodied and fruit-driven. There are also other Zin blends like Marietta Old Vine Red, and your local wine store should be able to suggest many others based on what you've had that you liked and didn't like. Good luck and keep trying!

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Reply by JonDerry, Nov 30, 2014.

Good for you JB, we welcome opposing viewpoints here.

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Reply by vin0vin0, Nov 30, 2014.

JB, I'd like to hear some of your recommendations (if any) for Beaujolais Nouveau.   I understand that the Nouveau is released early, with very little aging so as to show off the fruit. I've tried the Duboeuf and just didn't care for the sweetness. I haven't gone back to try any others. Gamay seems to be an acquired taste. It appears to me based on your post, that Melissa08 need to find some Beaujolais with some age on it. (FYI, the best Beaujolais I've had so far has been a Domaine Dupeuble blanc - fantastic chardonnay).

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Reply by dmcker, Nov 30, 2014.

Rodet used to do decent nouveau, but I haven't had any nouveau from any negociant or vintner since the '90s. I entered one of those 'over it' states by the latter half of that decade.

Lots of good Crus, and I often drink Morgon.

My experience with Duboeuf's irregularity is similar to JD's, though perhaps his stay-away warning can best be applied to that house's nouveaus. Their quality dropped drastically during the '80s, though theoretically they could've staged a recovery that I don't know about.

Generally, drinking nouveau was cheap and fun during the '70s into the early '80s. As the price rose the quality seemed to drop as everyone tried to get their bottles to the bubbling market. It often seemed like anyone who had access to a labelmaker, bottling machine and KoolAid could dump their product onto the market.

And yes, some good chard bottled there, too!

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Reply by Melissa08, Nov 30, 2014.

Thanks, everyone, for your feedback and advice.  I was too harsh in my opinion of the Chavannes Cote de Brouilly '13 I drank on Thanksgiving.  It really was delicious -- lush strawberry/cranberry/raspberry -- after about 10 minutes in the glass and the bright ruby color is stunning.  Would definitely drink it again.  I've heard good things about the Lapierre Morgon and may splurge on a bottle.

My fall back varietal has always been new world Pinot Noir likeCambria and Acacia Carneros.  Zin's alcohol content is too high for me and Barbera/Sangiovese are generally too dry.  This year's Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is terrible: cheap flavors, $9 pricetag and a heck of a hangover the next morning.

 

 

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Reply by GregT, Dec 1, 2014.

Jon - I wouldn't necessarily condemn Duboeuf either. He's kind of a half-ass hero actually since it's because of him that so many of those crus still exist and haven't been abandoned and planted with something else. He started out as a poor farmer who sold his grapes to the large buyer for blending into generic wine. He believed in the superiority of certain regions and set out on his own to bottle and sell that kind of wine. It's true that he made a lot of money on the nouveau, but also by selling that wine, he brought a lot of people to wine that wouldn't otherwise have developed an interest.

One can do a lot worse as a wine lesson than go out and buy all of the crus from Dubouef, get yourself 10 glasses, and taste all of the wines side by side. Then empty the glasses, have someone bag the wines, and go back and do the tasting blind. See if you can distinguish the crus. If you want to understand the influence of terroir, that's one of the best lessons you can find and it's not going to set you back hundreds of dollars.

The nouveau isn't much worse than any cheap, young wine from anywhere. All over the world they make wine with carbonic maceration and it's often similar to young Beaujolais. There are people who make more "serious" wine with carbonic maceration as well - they do it because they want to preserve the fruit aromas and flavors.

In any event Melissa, Beaujolais being what it is, finding good bottles in the US is going to require diligence and effort. It's easier to find a more popular grape from CA, which is why I suggested those that I did. The world exists beyond Merlot, Cab, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 1, 2014.

That would indeed be a fun way to taste for terroir Greg, we need to talk about tasting dates for 2015.

Have a wine friend from the Netherlands coming to San Diego in April, and thought of your place as a possibility for hosting. Normally, this wouldn't work out so well as he is a Burgundy nut, but he also happens to be the biggest champion of Tokaj (outside of Hungary) that I've come across other than you. Seems like we could do some Burg, Bordeax (or Spain), then cap it off with some Tokaj.

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Reply by duncan 906, Dec 1, 2014.

See if you can find Chiroubles or Morgon from Eric Morin because he is also a good producer of Cro Beaujolais in my experience

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Reply by GregT, Dec 2, 2014.

Jon - the place is available, albeit sparsely furnished. But I have plenty of glasses and I've done that tasting many times. Not actually w Dubouef, but with wines from the various crus. It's usually interesting and informative and I have yet to ID each one with 100 pct accuracy, so until I can do that, I want to keep trying.

I can scrounge some additional folks from SD if we need to.

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Reply by zufrieden, Dec 2, 2014.

I have been a bit disconnected from the fraternity/sorority of late, but wonder about some of your locations. I had heard about a move, but are you (Greg T) now out west (which, as we know, is the best...)?

This may make a winter trip easier, e.g....

Z.


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