This light, delicious red wine shows just why Beaujolais should be among your go-to choices when dinner is casual, you’re eating late, or you just want something inexpensive and satisfying to pop open on a Monday or Tuesday evening.
It was the perfect wine — checking all those boxes — for a dinner of simply broiled flounder filets the other evening. Yes, red wine with fish is a thing, especially when the wine is light, unoaked, and slightly chilled.
The wine that did the trick was Michel Guignier’s 2021 Beaujolais, which overdelivers for its $19 price.
“Beaujolais” is the broadest appellation of the Beaujolais region just south of Burgundy, in which the Gamay grape plays the starring role. It stands in contrast to the 10 “crus” named after more specific places in Beaujolais, such as Morgon, Chiroubles, and Brouilly, to name just a few. Cru Beaujolais have become more expensive in recent years, with many now in the $30 to $40 range.
So Michel Guignier’s 2021 Beaujolais seems like a bargain and offers the kind of mineral-driven complexity more typical of the cru wines. In fact, the wine is made mostly from grapes sourced from the Morgon appellation, according to the U.S. importer, which describes Guignier’s wines as having “pure, transparent, soil-driven qualities that make naturally made Beaujolais so joyful to drink.”
Indeed, the Beaujolais shows a nice earthiness — the vineyards are on granite and schist soils — that punctuates its concentrated red fruit. Tastes of raspberry, cherry, and strawberry are framed by refreshing acidity. Alcohol is a moderate 12.5 percent, which makes it almost effortless to drink. Beyond simply prepared fish, it will complement a range of dishes, including roast chicken and grilled pork.
It reminds us of the beauty and charm of Beaujolais and the Gamay grape, which deserve more attention as crisp, lighter, value-driven wines that are excellent alternatives to more expensive Pinot Noirs.