Move over Beaujolais Nouveau, I’ve got a new BFF!

The theme for last month’s Carpe Vinum was Cru Beaujolais — a theme inspired both by my embarrassing lack of Cru Beaujolais knowledge, and the annual spectacle & siren song of Beaujolais Nouveau.  I buy a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau every year . . . until now.  This year, I’ve resisted temptation.  I credit this tasting with giving me new perspective into the versatility and complexity of Cru Beaujolais.  Move over Beaujolais Nouveau, I’ve got a new BFF!

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago, I wrote a background post about Cru Beaujolais so I could fake the funk at our Cru tasting.

There are six of us in Carpe Vinum, and we tasted seven out of the ten Cru Beaujolais — and that’s with one of us absent!  I think we did pretty well.  We decided to taste the Cru Beaujolais in order from lightest to fullest.  Now, don’t get your corks in a pile about the exact order — I know folks disagree on this point.  Just roll with it . . .

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Salade Lyonnaise paired with George Duboeuf Domaine des Buyats Regnie 2006
This is a classic salad from Lyon, France made with frisee lettuce (that’s fancy, curly lettuce for your iceberg-only folks), bacon, croutons, a poached egg, and a Dijon vinaigrette.  An egg on a salad . . . genius.  C’est Magnifique!

The Wine . . .
Regnie is the most recent Cru Beaujolais to get its designation.  And wow, such an unusual presence in the glass – rust colored, almost opaque.  A flyweight of a wine with fun fruit and gentle tannins.  On its own, it’s kind tough to get past the opaqueness (it pulls focus), but with the Salade Lyonnaise, it sung!  12.5% ABV.  $16.

The Pairing . . . 
Ethnic food with ethnic wine — it just works.  The salad increased the perception of pepper in the wine . . . but also it’s complexity.  And I forgot all about the cloudy rust thing.  Winner.

Guinness Beef Stew paired with Domaine Comte de Monspey Vieilles Vignes Brouilly 2011
This stew is so rich, yet so simple.  You can definitely taste the Guinness, but it doesn’t taste like Beer Stew, if that makes sense.  Do heed the recipe author’s tip and use Guinness Draught and not Extra Stout (waaaay too bitter).  I made this for my picky boys a few nights ago, and it was a hit all around!  Winter is here . . . eat, drink and be hearty!

The Wine . . .
Brouilly is famous for wines with pronounced blueberry notes.  Pronounced is an understatement.  This wine is like drinking a can of blueberry pie filling!   Zippy acids with calm tannins.  This will forever be known to me as The Blueberry Wine!  12.5% ABV.  $10.

The Pairing . . . 
There’s a blueberry in my stew!  The stew shifts the wine to slightly metallic — not a huge thing, just an interesting shift.  The stew is so substantial, I went back to it later with the heavyweight Crus (the Morgon and Moulin-a-Vent), and they were solid matches.

Solo Tasting — Domaine Du Riaz Côte de Brouilly 2009
We tasted the Côte de Brouilly sans food pairing.  The grapes in Côte de Brouilly are grown on slopes of an extinct volcano.  Red Hots and Nyquil on the nose, with notes of dormant volcano on the back end.  A definite turn toward the welterweight class. 13% ABV.  $17.

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Quinoa with Squash, Peppers & Figs paired with DeBeaune La Madone Fleurie 2009
I love quinoa . . . love the nutty, toasty flavor and the crunchy texture.  It’s a blank canvas for food.  And while I love butternut squash, it’s the fresh figs in this dish that are the key to its magic.  I’m not a fan of red peppers, so I did what all mature adults do . . . I pushed them around on my plate.  Delicious — I cleaned my bowl (except for my pile of red peppers)!

The wine . . . 
Fleurie is often called the Queen of Beaujolais.  It’s noted for it’s distinct floral characteristics — eponymous strikes again.  A brilliant, ruby color, the nose is a big whiff of violets.  Flavors of plums and raspberries, with just enough brooding to make it interesting. Good structure.  13% ABV.  $20.

The pairing . . .
The Fleurie really highlights the toast flavor in the Quinoa.  Yum!  And it doesn’t fight with the red peppers or the figs.  Color me surprised.  The only minus?  The food increased the perception of heat in the wine.  But that’s probably the red peppers doing their thing.

Solo Tasting — Georges Duboeuf Julienas 2010 $15
Julienas is named after a village planted by the Romans and named for Julius Caesar.  I was super excited for this wine because it’s supposed to smell like peonies (my favorite!).   I didn’t get peonies, but it did smell like a florist shop.  I’d love to try a different Julienas . . . I’m starting to think Georges Duboeuf owns the entire Kingdom of Beaujolais.

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Chicken Satay paired with Domaine Mont Chavy Morgon 2011
You know, I don’t think that they have enough meats on sticks.  The world needs more meets on sticks.  Especially meats on sticks smothered in spicy peanut sauce.

The wine . . . 
Most of the Cru Beaujolais to this point have been happy-go-lucky and cheerful.  Not anymore.  Get out the black nail polish and eyeliner — this wine takes a definite turn toward goth.  And I love it.  Earthy and spicy, it reminds me a lot of Pinot Noir — it’s Pinot without the price tag!  13% ABV.  $17.

The pairing . . .
Love the Morgon.  Love the Satay.  Don’t love them together.  That said, I don’t hate them together, either.  If I were going to do any red with spicy peanut sauce, Beaujolais would be my go-to.  But, I’d love to try the Satay with a bottle of Riesling.

Brown Butter Penne Pasta with Kabocha Squash, Pancetta, Kale & Ricotta
paired with Potel-Aviron Moulin-à-Vent 2010
Read in your Chandler Bing voice:  Could this recipe title BE any longer??  This is a Wine Spectator recipe and pairing.  And what’s not to love about something swimming in browned butter sauce?  But honestly, the pasta is superfluous — you could leave it out and it would be just as good.  Also, I used butternut squash instead of kabocha.  My Wegmans didn’t have kabocha squash.  And if Wegmans doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.

The wine . . . 
Moulin-à-Vent is named after an old windmill that stands as sentry above the appellation. It’s regarded as the most “serious” of the Cru Beaujolais.  Cranberry with spice notes and funk.  Well integrated with some really neat sawdust notes.  I will definitely be coming back for more of the windmill wine!  12.5% ABV.  $17.

The pairing . . . 
Moulin-a-Vent is about as serious as I’d go with this dish.  OK, maybe I’d go Pinot Noir.  The combination of pancetta and brown butter with the earthiness of the kale all converge to make a great partner for Cru Beaujolais!

Tasting Takeaway:  I have severely under-appreciated Cru Beaujolais as a partner for food . . . but I’m gonna fix that.  Gamay or Bust!

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Carpe Vinum.  Next Month:  Holiday Traditions!

Salud!

7 comments

  1. Really sounds like an awesome group! What do I have to do to get an invite? And gathering seven out of the ten is impressive! I was hoping one would have been Chiroubles since when I first started drinking wine, that was one of my favorites!

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    1. It is a fun group! Any time you feel like taking a field trip to DC, just let me know! I looked high and low for Chiroubles specifically, but couldn’t find it at any of our local outlets . . . and not enough time to special order. Hey . . . Wine Library has free shipping today, perhaps I will order myself a bottle?! Salud!!

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  2. Cru Beaujolais is what I bought for my Thanksgiving meal, a magnum 2010 Christian Bernard Fleurie Select Block Gamay – Beaujolais. It’s really really nice!! I love your pairings and think I am going to have to try Mont Chavy Morgon, sounds delicious!

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