Say Hooray for Kosher Beaujolais | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Say Hooray for Kosher Beaujolais

Say Hooray for Kosher Beaujolais

Beaujolais Wine Country/ Wikimedia Commons

L’Chaim travels to the Beaujolais region

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The Beaujolais region in eastern France is north of Lyon and south of Burgundy. It encompasses parts of the Rhône département (Rhône-Alpes) and parts of the Saône-et-Loire département (Burgundy). In administrative terms, it is considered part of the Burgundy wine region, but the climate, soils, and basic topography are very different. Even more significantly, the wines produced in the Beaujolais area exhibit a regional identity quite distinct from either Rhône or Burgundy.

Indeed, whether drinking simple Beaujolais (which can come from any of 96 villages), Beaujolais Villages (which comes from any of 39 communes in the northern Haut Beaujolais), one of the acclaimed Cru Beaujolais (which can only come from one of the ten villages in the foothills of the Beaujolais mountains), or the ubiquitous Beaujolais Nouveau (easily the area’s most famous wine style), the wines of the Beaujolais region are readily identifiable, especially in their youth. For Beaujolais wines are nearly all representative of a unique style of delicious, fruity, fresh, red wines (from the Gamay Noir grape) that have the weight, structure, and balance of a white wine. Red Beaujolais wines typically exhibit relatively high acidity, low tannins, and “bracing poise,” as the great wine writer Andrew Jefford memorably put it. Similar to white wines, again, Beaujolais is best served slightly chilled. At this temp, to quote Jefford again, “all of its intoxicating fruit scents and its slippery gulpability come to the fore (as does its ability to accompany a wide variety of foods well, fish included).”

The availability of kosher Beaujolais here in the US has lamentably ebbed and flowed over the years, arguably with more ebbing than flowing. Thankfully, however, it is set for something of a comeback thanks to the folks at the DC-based JCommerce Group, the parent company of the online kosher wine retail websites jwines.com and kosherwine.com. They not only began bringing in Beaujolais Nouveau (a Louis Blanc Selection) but also, most recently, two of the ten Cru Beaujolais—a Côte de Brouilly (that used to be imported by Victor Wines), and a Juliénas (both of which are also Louis Blanc Selections). I’m told there is likely to be another Cru Beaujolais, a Moulin-à-Vent (also from Louis Blanc), coming here too once another vintage release becomes available. Deliciousness and joy are the bywords of these offerings. Without further ado:

Duc de Pagny, Beaujolais Nouveau, 2017 ($12): Even though this is now well past the traditional drinking window for this style of Beaujolais, it is still surprisingly quite yummy—it’s gotten dark, and a bit hefty, with the black cherry in overdrive, but really very pretty and tasty (it has thrown a lot of sediment). I wouldn’t hold onto it for much longer, but it remains joyously gluggable. So, don’t hesitate to buy more and enjoy soon.

Louis Blanc, Côte de Brouilly, Domaine La Ferrage, (Beaujolais), 2014 ($20): Light, fruity, and lovely with soft tannins and nice acidity, offering aromas and flavors of ripe raspberries, blackberries, cherries, boysenberries, and dark plums, a subtle whiff of smoke, and just a wee bit of earthiness. From first sip to last, this is immensely satisfying and quaffable.

Louis Blanc, Juliénas, (Beaujolais), 2015 ($20): This is lovely, fun, delicious, and, well, imbued with a sense of joy. Generously aromatic with beautiful fruity and floral notes—strawberries, peaches, red currants, violets, peonies, mild cinnamon, perhaps a touch of muted bubblegum, and a endearing earthy richness. With mild but silky tannins and solid balancing acidity, this is simply delightful.

L’Chaim!

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