Bring back BEAUJOLAIS

Seriously, we spend so much time chasing forward and trying new things, sometimes it is really good to STOP, STAND STILL and remember the past. So can you remember Beaujolais that was both fashionable and which we loved between 1970s & 90s? If you can, you are as old as me - hehehe.

To be honest, back then some of the wines produced may have been ‘enhanced’. They did seem somewhat bigger in style than one would expect from the Gamay Grape. France did import a great deal of full-bodied Tunisian red wine. Maybe I’m a little cynical but history does ‘indicate’ that some practises were not as they are now - if you understand me!!

Andrew Hill

We also had what was ‘The Beaujolais Nouveau Race’ where lunatics - once myself included! - collected the wine from the centre of Beaune at 12.01am on 13th November and raced to be first in either London or Paris. We travelled on lorries and cars, motorbikes and even helicopters. Lots of fun, lots of money for charity and VERY SILLY. There came a period when the wines were over-thin, poorly produced and where the vines had been stretched as far as legality allowed. Such a shame for a fruity and fun wine and of course it lost its appeal.

Today matters are much different, I am pleased to tell. The producers of the delightful region known as Beaujolais which is a short drive south from Beaune, are so keen today that you experience the flavour and appeal of Gamay with its lively fruit and heady aromas.

There should be tastes of crushed strawberries and raspberries, along with aromas of lilac and violets. The wines can often be made using the maceration carbonique, where the grapes are macerated whole to bring out the colour. More importantly the fermentation is inside the whole grape. This produces a wine that is fresh, fruity and low in tannins that is ready for dinking in just a few weeks. 

Then of course there are The Crû wines. Many of you will have heard of Brouilly, Fleurie and perhaps even of Morgon, but did you know there are 7 more? They are named after individual villages where each has a particular characteristic, such as sour-cherries, dried berries, black pepper and even ‘cut-stone’ or chalk. Whilst the regular wine needs to be consumed in 2 or 3 years the Crû will last longer and in fact Morgon often benefits from 5 to 6 years in the bottle. 

Today a nice Crû Beaujolais is going to cost you £12 - £15 and a good ‘Village’ wine a little less. The wines will stand up to enjoying with a nice ‘noggin’ of good cheddar, Sunday Lunch or even some trout. When so many are ready to pay that and more why not take a chance, stand back yourselves and re-visit the past? 

Do remember to drink responsibly.................. Best wishes – Andrew [andrewh@georgehill.co.uk

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