Drinks

Try Beaujolais, an underappreciated fall red wine

Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM ET

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Of the many wine regions in France, Beaujolais just doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Overshadowed by Burgundy to the north and the Rhône Valley to the south, Beaujolais also struggles to overcome an image formed by wines of little consequence, most notably the gimmicky Beaujolais Nouveau, the just-fermented wine released with great fanfare each November after the harvest so the growers can make some quick cash.

Beaujolais, which is made from the gamay grape, is actually a wonderful September wine. Traditionally served slightly chilled, it’s a wine for both warm weather and cool and usually has a good deal of acidity, making it a tasty choice for many foods. One worth trying is Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes’s 2011 Côte de Brouilly from Nicole Chanrion, who has owned the 16-acre vineyard for 25 years.

Côte-de-Brouilly sits on the hillsides of Mont Brouilly, a prehistoric volcano that left schist and volcanic rock in the soils, which are reflected in the minerality of the wines. Chanrion’s Brouilly also has lovely strawberry and blueberry tastes along with herbal and floral notes. The overall impression is bright and refreshing with a good deal of complexity. The domaine’s annual production is just 2,500 cases, and the average price on Wine-searcher is $19, with some stores selling it for less.

It pairs well with roast pork, chicken or even with cod roasted over a bed of lentils (I have often served Beaujolais as a fish wine.) This is an excellent wine to discover the best of Beaujolais, an under-appreciated region that deserves a bigger place at the table. Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif.

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.

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