Louis Jadot proclaims itself “America’s #1 French Wine.” Founded in 1859, Jadot is a big — no, make that a very big — producer and négociant of Burgundy and Beaujolais wines. And yes, you probably will find its lower-priced bottles in more wine stores and supermarkets than just about any French wine in this country.
But as VinePair’s Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe discuss in a recent episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” it’s not so much these large brands — whether in wine, spirits, or beer — that are the darlings of the trade (and many journalists), but the small producers that have a “story” to tell, even if their stories are sometimes better than their wines.
Which brings us to a Louis Jadot wine that’s as good as any wine tale: the 2020 Beaujolais-Villages, widely available with 60,000 cases exported to the U.S., and one of the best French values you’ll find at around $13 or less.
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The grape, of course, is Gamay, the signature variety of Beaujolais, which lies just south of Burgundy. The large Beaujolais-Villages appellation is in the north of the region and encompasses 38 villages, largely granite-based with sandy topsoil in which Gamay thrives.
With black cherry and raspberry notes accented by cinnamon and nutmeg, this is a classic Beaujolais for everyday drinking that will pair with all kinds of foods. With its fruity character, good acidity, and smooth tannins, think of it as a go-to red for full-flavored fish like swordfish, especially with a light chill.
And so, while the little guys of the wine world might have a good story to tell, sometimes it’s the big guys that stand out when it comes to what’s in the bottle.