Celebrate November 20 With CRU Beaujolais

Friday, November 21, 2014 2:13 AM

It’s here! It’s the third Thursday of November.Thanksgiving is ONE week away and today, at bistros and brasseries worldwide, the northern hemisphere’s very first wine from 2014 is being served. No matter where you stand on the issue of Nouveau Beaujolais, the undeniable fact of the matter is that it has become a tradition andsomething to celebrate, for the sake of celebration itself. It gives one the excuse to check into their local Franco-centric establishment and partake in festivity. The wines are light, fruity, and easy to drink. The advertisingfor the unveiling of these wines is plentiful, and even if you’ve never been to France, it’s difficult to not be taken in by the hype. So, if one is open to the simplicity of Nouveau, why not dig a bit deeper and have a look into the finest wines from this region: Cru Beaujolais!

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In the French wine world, “Cru” means “Growth.” You won’t see the fancy (and often expensive) names “Grand Cru” or “Premier Cru” in Beaujolais. There is a lot of wine that comes from Beaujolais, including Nouveau, butthe BEST of these wines come from Beaujolais’ 10 Crus. Killing two birds with one stone here, the names of the 10 Crus were humorously listed today on Twitter, as “List of ten wines that go with turkey.” In no particular order:
 
Saint Amour
Juliénas
Régnié
Moulin à Vent
Fleurie
Morgon
Chiroubles
Chénas
Brouilly
Cote de Brouilly
 
 
 
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It is humorous for us wine industry folks, as we have been known to recommend Beaujolais tirelessly to customers seeking Turkey Day red wines.Thanksgiving is a special occasion, so if you’re looking to open something fancier, by all means do so! But taking the traditional T-Day spread into consideration, if you’re going the red route, something light on its feet, spicy, and fruit-driven is the way to go. Knee-jerk reaction? Bam!Beaujolais. Cru Beaujolais, that is.
 

 

It being November and all, we’ve received several inquiries about a sale that usually occurs around this time. Stay tuned, as we will unveil the Anniversary Salewith a bit of fanfare in the coming days. (Though some of you may want to surf around our website. You never know what you might find.) What if one of the wines on sale were a Cru Beaujolais? Read on.
 
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The 2011 Château de Raousset Chiroubles is the lightest of the bunch, with dazzling aromas of bright cherries, forest floor, and baking spices. It’s a great intro to the world of the Cru. Raousset’s Fleurie Grille-Midi is at its peak right now showing off the complexity, balance, and weight that earned that Médaille d’Or on the bottle.The Morgon Douby is the most structured of the trio; it’s got a dark middle and earthy mineral qualities to it. It’s still Gamay Noir, so it’s elegant and not at all tannic – best part is that it’s on sale! Our other Morgon is from Domaine Pierre Savoye. It hails from Morgon’s Côte du Py, the prime terroir of this famous Cru. Savoye’s version isbrighter and fruitier, call it a little more slurpable.
 

 

Yes, today is the day that 2014 Nouveau Beaujolais hits the shops, brasseries, and tables across the globe. For the other 364 days of the year, if you’re talking about Beaujolais, head on over to the Cru section. For as simple and light-hearted as Nouveau is, Beaujolais’ Crus have so much complexity and elegance to offer. It’s as ifNouveau Beaujolais is made to drink while standing, while the Cru Beaujolais is something you may want to sip and discuss while sitting. Hey, a reason to celebrate is a reason to celebrate. Bon fête!

2009 Pierre Savoye Morgon Côte du Py

Sunday, July 8, 2012 2:56 PM

How was everyone’s 4th of July week? It seems many of you took long weekends on the front end or on the back end, and some (like Anya) took the whole week off! Whichever way you celebrated, I hope you had fun.It was a crazy week around TWH, as holiday weeks tend to be, but a good week for me as well. As if the 4th wasn’t a spectacle (it was), it was on the 5th when the cosmic tumblers aligned themselves in proper fashion.

 

The year of the live show continued this week, much thanks to a tap on the shoulder by our sales rep Jon, who gave me a heads up on the “about to sell out in 15 minutes” Gaslight Anthem show at the Independent. The Independent.On Divisidero St. Do you know what’s a half block from the Independent? That’s right, Nopa. Nopa could very well be my favorite restaurant in the city. Sometimes I wonder if I purposely go to shows at the Independent JUST so I can eat at Nopa beforehand. Probably so, though I wonder if the 2 band members seated behind us purposely booked their gig at the Independent so THEY could eat there. Hmmm. Anyways, dinner was a smash, the food impeccable, but eating at Nopa can be challenging if one table is to confine themselves to 1 bottle of wine. There are so many flavors and textures involved that diners need a very versatile vino. The epicurean experience was to conclude with duck, so the wine would be red. But what? Lost in the wine list, I had a sudden moment of brilliance. Gamay! Of course, Cru Beaujolais would do the trick. It won’t be overbearing on the appetizers, yet its fruity profile will sing with the duck. A glance at the handful of Gamays on the list revealed one 2009 Cru Beaujolais selection. We went with that and it shined!Spectacularly.

After an experience like that, coming in the next morning I made a bee line to the Cru Beaujolais section and grabbed a bottle of 2009 Pierre Savoye Morgon Côte du Py, and it was stellar. As they did at Nopa, I poured it in a Burgundy glass (wide concave bulb). The aromatics alone are what make Cru Beaujolais fun! “There’s strawberry, raspberry, some other kind of berry … wait, no, that’s blueberry, bay leaf, licorice … or is that fennel? No, actually it’s Sambuca like, anise, and sweet tobacco.” And it goes on like that. On the palate, it’s more of the same as nuance after nuance emerge to give you a little kiss but keep the experience lighthearted. Fortunately, the price of Cru Beaujolais is still more than reasonable. So happy as I was with the 2009 Savoye Morgon Côte du Py, I was ready to extol the virtues of “The best red wine for summer outings” in the form of an email, as Beaujolais drinks extremely well with a slight chill. Great idea, but then I realized that I did that very thing a year ago. Oh well, I get a lot of grief from friends and coworkers for telling some of my stories over and over and over, and my response is, “at least you know I’m telling the truth.” Or in this case, at least you know how I really feel. As evidenced by the dwindling representation of 2009 Cru Beaujolais on Nopa’s winelist, consider this email a “last call” if you will, on the fine 2009 Pierre Savoye Morgon Côte du Py.

 

For those of you who are nearing the end of your long holiday weekend (or entire week!), I hope all went well. For the rest of us who’ve been at it every day except the 4th, let us all enjoy a glorious Sunday. I’m certain that the year of the live show will continue (I’ve got a few pairs of tickets already), but more Nopa dinners? Now that’s another story, but here’s to hoping!!!Peter Zavialoff

 

PS: We’ll be unveiling a very special wine come Tuesday … stay tuned!

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