Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Beaujolais Challenge - Cote-de-Brouilly

Cote-de-Brouilly (Brew-yee) is one of the smaller Beaujolais Crus, high up in the hills of Brouilly. According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, many of the vineyards flank Mont Brouilly, a dormant volcano. Volcanos usually mean very fertile soils, if you know what I mean (wink-wink).

You know I was thinking the other night that there might not be too much point in over-thinking Beaujolais. The wines are delicious and easy to drink, low in alcohol, and they're a great combination of fruity, snappy acidity, and refreshment. They go great with food but are also light enough to be enjoyed on their own. Yes, it would definitely be interesting to lineup a few examples of wine from each of the Crus and taste them side by side in order to learn about their individual terroir...but why go through the effort? I would happily do that with any wines from anywhere, and it would probably be more rewarding with red Burgundies, for example.

Beaujolais is meant for drinking and enjoyment, not for contemplation. Yes, there are a few Crus that age well, according to some folks, although those folks go on to say that the wines take on a Pinot-like character. If I wanted that I would open a Pinot. What about when I want a delicious accompaniment to my meal for about $15?

So that, as simple as it may be, is my main realization so far with Beaujolais. Sometimes I get carried away by the compartmentalization of things. Each Cru is a different thing and the wines must be different, I reason. And they probably are. But that doesn't necessarily mean that things must be taken so seriously, especially in the case of Beaujolais. Go ahead if you want to, but I'm going to drink and enjoy mine.

In that spirit, I opened a bottle of Cote-de-Brouilly with spicy tofu and scallions, and baby bok choy the other night. I gave it about 20 minutes in the fridge first and the wine was nicely chilled, but not at all cold. I like Beaujolais with spicy food - it resembles a nice lager in that way, to me. Goes down easily, puts out the fire, refreshes the palate.

2005 Domaine de la Voute des Crozes (Nicole Chanrion) Cote-de-Brouilly, $18 (Chambers Street Wines). Lovely rose petal with some purple. Nose of strawberries and wet rust that follows up on the palate, with some floral smells coming through the next day. This wine was great with our spicy dinner and lovely to sip on its own the next day. But in the context of the past few bottles, both the Chiroubles at $16 and even the Regnie at $20 are a better value in my opinion. They offered a more rewarding contrast between silky texture and aroma, and back-slappin' grapes and red berries.


Taste of the Vine said...

There is lots of information on the Beaujolais region on the Complete Wine Course:

The Complete Wine Course

Brooklynguy said...

Interesting - i will register and take a peek sometime. Thanks for the suggestion.