Monday, September 10, 2007

2006 Beaujolais

I finally had a chance to taste some Beaujolais from the 2006 vintage. Beaujolais is often dismissed because the marketing hype surrounding Nouveau Beaujolais leaves the impression that the whole area is devoted to froth. In fact, the “crus” can be very fine and elegant drinks. Even these top examples are sometimes overlooked because they are subtle rather than overpowering. They’re meant for a roast chicken or a grilled sausage, not for a haunch of marinated boar or a banker’s ransom of Kobe porterhouse. The importer Kermit Lynch has long worked at bringing in the best examples of these charmers and Cédric Picard, wine guru at Big Red, persuaded Lynch to send in some advance samples. (I guess I should respect his ethnicity and refer to Cédric as a savant rather than guru.) Anyway, last night we got to drink some of these, 2005’s as well as 06’s and here are my notes.
First the 05’s. Thévenet, Morgon Vielles Vignes. The nose had a deep background scent, which everybody liked, and another element which people characterized with descriptors ranging from funky to barnyard to worse. I liked it and also liked the thick flavors of cherry, almond and vanilla. Not for the faint of heart, anyway. On the other hand, the Guy Breton Morgon was a beautiful violet wine, with a wonderful bouquet of flowers (finally justifying the word) and a light but pleasant taste of red berries – a good choice for those put off by the earthiness of the Thévenet. Then the 06’s. First a Dupeuple Beaujolais, a simple wine with a slight note of bubble gum. It reminded me of cherry cough drops, but good cherry cough drops. Then a more serious wine, a Thivin Cotes de Brouilly, with a silky texture, maybe red currant more than cherry, and a lingering spicy note. I was disappointed in the Diochon Moulin-à-Vent, usually a more impressive wine but tonight shallow and short. Finally a real winner, the Domaine Chignard’s Fleurie “Les Moriers.” The powerful fruits climbed right out of the glass, no need to bury the geeky nose in the glass for this one. The liquid coats the mouth and perfumes it for a good while afterwards. I thought at first that this was an impostor, that a pinot noir from Beaune had been slipped in to test us. I think the bottom line is that 06 will both require and reward careful buying.

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