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Two Sips of the Beaujolais “Vintage of a Lifetime”

21 Mar

There are dichotomies in the world of wine and partisans for both.  For instance, Old World versus New World, Burgundy versus Bordeaux, oaked versus unoaked.  Another one that I haven’t read about online but have experienced frequently first-hand deals with Beaujolais: specifically, people tend to either love or hate Beaujolais.  (Assuming they’ve had any Beaujolais to begin with.)

This is understandable.  My first experience with Beaujolais was in 2005, when I was still an RA at Berkeley.  I purchased a bottle of basic Beaujolais from Kermit Lynch.  I chilled it, just as the KLWM staff recommended, and served it to a few guests.  None of my guests liked it.  It was too thin, too acidic, a washed-out excuse of a wine.  I agreed with them to an extent, but there was something about it that I liked.

A few years (and a whole helluva lotta bottles of Beaujolais) later I’ve managed to articulate what I like about Beaujolais.  It’s not just one thing; there are many great things that make Beaujolais one of my favorite appellations.  For starters, it is inexpensive.  You can buy some serious bottles for less than $25.00, and you can buy most for under $20.00.  It is a joyful wine, one that you chill and gulp down, especially because Beaujolais is low alcohol (anywhere between 11-13% ABV).  It goes well with a wide variety of foods, from roast chicken to fish, and even to red meats.  Finally, it’s just tasty, full of fresh fruit but with some of the better examples featuring dark earth, minerality, and significant structure.

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