When spring arrives, my palate and spirit desires Beaujolais like the 2009 Domaine Chatelus de la Roche and the 2009 Domaine Rochette Beaujolais-Villages.
Winter is the time for full-bodied, intensely flavored Rhone wines like Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Hermitage and Cote Rotie; brawny California cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel, and bold Barolo and Barbaresco.
But when forsythia, iris, and lilacs are blooming, Beaujolais brings its matching bright flavors and delicate texture to the season.
Beaujolais is a large area that is technically part of Burgundy wine region, but it has little in common with the wines of its more illustrious neighbors. Beaujolais is made from gamay not pinot noir, and while the latter receives reverential respect and commands high prices, gamay is casually enjoyed at an everyday tab.
Beaujolais is the sector’s basic wine. Normally, Beaujolais is a quaffable light-bodied and -colored wine. But 2009 was not a normal year in Beaujolais; it produced a richly flavored and hued vintage.
The brilliant raspberry-colored 2009 Domaine Chatelus de la Roche Beaujolais is bursting with cranberry and lilac aromas. Its fills the mouth with tart cherry and cranberry flavors that last longer than any Beaujolais I can recall. Enjoy this wonderful wine with a country pate spread on toast, or a plate of saucisson with onion confiture.
Beaujolais-Villages is the middle rung on the Beaujolais appellation ladder. Wines bearing this designation can be a blend of gamay from any of the 39 villages given this higher classification. The 2009 Domaine Rochette Beaujolais-Villages has a clear cherry hue and a delightful floral and cherry scent. It delivers savory black cherry and cranberry tastes that are balanced with gamay’s crisp acidity. This is a perfect wine for roast chicken with Lyonnaise potatoes, or grilled salmon with mustard sauce.
As spring rolls into summer, don’t miss the pleasures of these two excellent wines from the outstanding 2009 Beaujolais vintage. And with the prices as enticing as the wines, this is the Beaujolais vintage to stock up on.
The 2009 Domaine Chatelus de la Roche Beaujolais and the 2009 Domaine Rochette Beaujolais-Villages retail for approximately $11 and $13, respectively.