Beaujolais is the southernmost district of Burgundy and also the largest, producing almost half the wines of the entire region. The wines of Beaujolais are made in a different style and with a different grape than the other wines of Burgundy. Almost all of the wine produced in Beaujolais is red – but not from Pinot Noir like in the rest of Burgundy. Instead, in Beaujolais they grow a red grape called Gamay.
Gamay is very different from Pinot Noir. To compare the two, Gamay-based wines are intended for early consumption and often fruity and simple. Red Burgundy, made from Pinot Noir, is often earthy and complex, with balanced fruit flavors, more tannins and structure. Red Burgundy can also be aged for decades.
There are three basic classes of Beaujolais wine; AOC Beaujolais, AOC Beaujolais- Villages, and Cru Beaujolais – considered the best in the region.
A wonderful example of the mid-tier AOC Beaujolais-Villages is the Domaine Pascal Granger Le Bouteau 2009 Beaujolais-Villages, imported by the legendary Neal Rosenthal.
Tasting notes: An inviting fruity nose of red-fruits and berries. Served slightly chilled, the flavor profile of dry red-fruits with mineral notes and balance, along with subtle tannins, made the 2009 Le Bouteau Beaujolais-Villages most enjoyable.
Pairing ideas: Beaujolais pairs well with a variety of dishes and is a food-friendly wine. The 2009 Le Bouteau Beaujolais-Villages paired well with jambalaya for this tasting. Also consider pairing with grilled chicken, light pasta dishes and mild cheese plates.