Sunday, January 18, 2009

WOW Burgundy by any other name

A wine factoid that many of us learn early on is that a red French wine from Burgundy is always made from pinot noir. Great rule of thumb for us varietal-focused Americanos, right? Only it's wrong. Wine of the week this week is Beaujolais. Named for a region that sits inside the Burgundy appellation, these red wines are 100% gamay, not pinot noir. And it often says right there on the label "Red Burgundy Wine" as well as "Red Beaujolais Wine". Confusing, no? Now maybe you sip Noveau Beaujolais each November when it is released but this is different stuff - same grape but built for aging, these wines are beautiful. All fruit, no oak with soft tannins and aromas of fresh flowers, cherries and subtle spices. Simple wines that don't persist on the finish or keep up with bold foods, but for $12-25 these are a great deal. Especially look for the Francois Labet 2006 (the off-the-bottle label in this photo). Terrific wine. The other two pictured here are very good as well. Avoid the cheapest that just carry the "Beaujolais" name and spend an extra buck or two for "Beaujolais Villages" or one of the subregions like Julienas, Morgan, Brouilly or Fleurie (especially a hit on Valentines Day - which is coming soon!)

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