Let’s ease our way into the new year with something light, delicious, easy to drink, and inexpensive. Let’s raise a glass to — and with — Beaujolais.
The region just south of Burgundy (some consider it part of Burgundy) is the home of the still-underappreciated Gamay grape, which produces everything from the much-hyped Beaujolais Nouveau to the more substantial and often age-worthy “cru” Beaujolais, which take the names of the 10 villages where these site-specific wines are produced. Morgon, Fleurie, and Chiroubles are just a few of them.
And then there is the wine labeled simply “Beaujolais,” a kind of catch-all appellation for wines produced (and blended) from anywhere in the region. Although not very high in the hierarchy, plain old Beaujolais can rise well above its official status and showcase delicious wines that you can buy for bargain prices.
One of them is Louis Jadot’s delightful and expressive 2019 Beaujolais. Jadot is one of the oldest and most famous Burgundy négociants, with a portfolio of well over 100 wines, at all levels, from Burgundy and Beaujolais. Its 2019 Beaujolais drinks more like a lighter cru wine — perhaps a Brouilly — than the relatively high-volume bottling that it is.
In fact, Kobrand, the U.S. importer, notes that Jadot’s “generous” use of “blending wines of a higher classification to elevate the blend promotes quality and value.” The quality and value quickly become clear in this $12 wine.
Fresh and fruit-driven with aromas and tastes of strawberry, raspberry, and a hint of Maraschino cherry, there’s also a peppery note that punctuates the fruit and just enough tannic structure to make it interesting. The wine is made with partial carbonic maceration, a technique commonly used in Beaujolais.
Crisp but balanced acidity make it a great companion for a range of lighter foods. It was perfect with a savory veal stew made with lots of dill but, importantly, without cream, which would probably overpower this wine.