Ready To Elevate Your Beaujolais Game? Go Beyond Nouveau! #Winophiles

Every year, on the third Thursday in November, the world’s fastest wine, from picking to bottling, hits the world-wide market with tsunami of marketing hype.

That wine is Beaujolais Nouveau.

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France with fireworks, music and festivals.  And it’s not just France.  It’s  worldwide phenomenon.  In fact in Japan, which imports nearly 8 million bottles Beaujolais Nouveau,  there’s even a bathhouse near Tokyo that offers a hot Beaujolais Nouveau bath!

I think of Beaujolais Nouveau as a simple, fun, flirty and fruity wine, but if the only Beaujolais you’re drinking is Nouveau, you’re barely scratching the surface of  the beautiful, food friendly and affordable wines of Beaujolais!

So after you’ve had your fling with a chilled bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, it’s time to seek out a deeper more meaningful relationship with the rest of Beaujolais!

As many wine regions in France, there is a pyramid of quality in the Beaujolais region.  Consider Nouveau Beaujolais as the base. Then you ascend to (normal) Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, then on to the named Crus of Beaujolais. – Jeff Burrows, FoodWineClick

About Beaujolais Beyond Nouveau

Located north of Lyon in eastern France, Beaujolais overlaps Burgundy (of which it is sometimes considered to be a part) in the north and Rhône in the south. The picturesque Beaujolais vineyards run along the Saône River. Winemakers have crafted deliciously supple and fruity wines in the region since the days of Ancient Rome.

The Gamay Noir grape, a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais, is used to make  ninety-nine percent with Beaujolais wines. The exception is Beaujolais Blanc, which is made of Chardonnay  and Aligote grapes.

Beaujolais wine region, courtesy of discoverbeaujolais.com
Beaujolais wine region, courtesy of discoverbeaujolais.com

The traditional “Beaujolais” style of winemaking is unique and original.  Grapes are hand-picked then subjected to semi-carbonic maceration.   There are other methods of vinification, including thermovinification (a quick fix, where the grapes and must are heated to near boiling prior to fermentation) or traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. There are 2,000 winegrowers producing red, white and rosé  wines.  There are 12 appellations (in ascending order of quality; Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, and  10 designated vineyard areas – or “crus”, which are considered to produce the best Beaujolais wines.

The northern part of Beaujolais is made up of rolling granite hills with patches of clay and limestone, while the south is dominated by richer clay- and sandstone-based soils, and much flatter topography. This differing terroir is a dominant factor in the north, producing typically aromatic, structured and complex wines in contrast to the lighter, younger-drinking and fruitier style of the south. (Source)

Check out the fun and informative Discover Beaujolais website, including the Top 3 reasons to try Beaujolais, for more information.

My Exploration of Beaujolais – In The Glass And At The Table

Over the course of a week or so, I tried four different wines from Beaujolais region, including a Beaujolais Villages, and three Cru Beaujolais – Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, and Morgon.

I rarely enjoy wine without food, so I paired the wines with a variety of meals.

2016 Vignerons de Bel Air Beaujolais-Villages Natural

My tasting notes and the pairing(s) follow:

Color: Medium ruby
Aromas:  Appealing black and red fruit, damp earth, black currant leaf and rosehips
Body: Between light and medium-bodied with vibrant acidity and a solid structure
Taste: Black raspberries, cherries, a dollop of fresh strawberries and spice
Finish: Medium

2015 Domaine Baron de l’Ecluse Côte de Brouilly Le Garances

My tasting notes and the pairing(s) follow:

Color: Opaque violet
Aromas: Aromatic and appealing black fruit, floral, wet clay, and a hint of damp earth
Body: Medium-bodied and fresh with firm well-integrated tannins, and a polished appealing texture
Taste: Plum, black cherry, and black raspberry
Finish: Medium-long

Enjoyed this wine over the course of a couple of evenings. It found peaceful co-existence with Chicken Adobo on a bed of Polenta on the first night. But it paired better with Pasta with Mushroom (Oyster, Hen of the Woods, Shitake, Black Poplar and Trumpet Royale) Ragu on the next night! A great example of why I #lovebeaujolais. Very much like its cousin to the north Pinot Noir from Burgundy, it’s a high acid, low tannin red wine that is very versatile at the table. I love a wine that’s so versatile because you don’t have to put as much thought into food/wine pairing! But Beaujolais (which is made from the Gamay Noir grape) is a much more affordable option! It’s one of my very favorite “everyday” red wines! #gogamaygo #instawine #foodandwine #wine #winelover #sommstable #samplewine #winophiles #cotedebrouilly #beaujolais

A post shared by martindredmond (@martindredmond) on

2015 Domaine de Briante – Brouilly Tradition 

Color: Translucent crimson
Aromas: Black berries, Kirsch, roast mushrooms, forest floor, and dried roses
Body: Medium-bodied and fresh with a very appealing supple texture and well-integrated tannins
Taste: Black cherry, blackberry, black currant, with sweet and savory spice
Finish:  Medium-long

2015 Domaines Piron – Morgon Côte du Py 

Color:  Nearly opaque violet
Aromas: Black fruit, black currant leaf, mint and violet
Body: Medium bodied, elegant  and well structured with tangy acidity and perceptible well-integrated tannins
Taste: Black currant, black berry, strawberries,  and violets with savory spice and an appealing minerality
Finish: Long

My favorite of the wines was the 2015 Domaines Piron – Morgon Côte du Py.  I considered all the wines to be very good to outstanding, and I love the value offered

My favorite pairing was the Beaujolais Village with the Mole Poblano Chicken Enchiladas (followed very closely by the Broilly  with the Chicken Mushroom pot pie with roasted hen of the woods mushrooms)!  Likewise all the pairings were good to very good.  You’ll find that Beaujolais wines pair well with virtually anything that pairs well with Pinot Noir, one of the most food friendly red wines (please add Beaujolais to that list!) such as mushrooms and pork dishes.  (check out the Beaujolais website for more pairing ideas)

But it’ll be a real challenge to find a bottle of Pinot Noir that offers comparable quality for the price!

My week with Beaujolais wine beyond Nouveau reaffirmed why it is one of my favorite “every day” red wines.  The wines are very versatile at the table, and they offer excellent value.  Beaujolais wines offer something for every budget and you can find an impressive bottle without breaking the bank!

Here’s a compilation of posts  also related to Beaujolais beyond Nouveau which will go live over the next few days.  And please remember to join our chat!

Join our chat on Saturday November 18 at 8a-9am PST (11am EST, 10am CST, and 1700 hours in France)! See what we think of Beaujolais, and tell us about your experiences! Simply log into Twitter and search for the #winophiles tag, and you’re in!

Disclosure: I received the four wines free of charge.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own

You might also like: Exploring Cru Beaujolais; A Great Everyday Red Wine

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30 Comments

  1. I have enjoyed following your pairings. Cheers!

  2. Martin D. Redmond says:

    Thanks Michelle! Cheers!

  3. Lynn says:

    Great article Martin! Just like Beaujolais, fun and full of life, and serious at the same time. Interesting to note how the “damp earth” and “forest floor” aromas carried through most wines for you too, of course with the fruit. And as mentioned in my reply to your Instagram post about Domaines Piron Morgon Côte de Py, I’m searching out the Japchae Potstickers to try with it!

  4. So glad you like the wines
    Very interesting for me, born on the hill producing Morgon Côte du Py, to read your description of these mature Beaujolais
    Michèle

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Merci Beaucoup Michele!

  5. Wendy Klik says:

    The Cote du Py was my favorite as well.

  6. Philippe MARX says:

    Glad you enjoyed the wine. I personaly serve it with cold cuts and cheese as an apéritif; But most of all like to share it with friends !!

  7. I am happy to see your comments about my wine, Cheers. Jean francois Pegaz – Domaine Baron de l’Ecluse

  8. Odd Bacchus says:

    I totally agree about the value proposition of Beaujolais — you get a lot of wine for your money! And you’re so right about how it’s wonderfully food-friendly. I’m definitely going to order it in restaurants more often.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Rob. I don’t see it on menu much here in the SF Bay Area, but I certainly need to purchase it more!

  9. There’s always something unexpected in your posts, Martin. This time, the Beaujolais Nouveau Bath! I wonder what the drinking protocol is? :-) Also really loved your pairings; whenever you decide to launch a meal-delivery service, let me know. I’ll be your first customer!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks so much Lauren! You’re too kind. I wanted to say more about bathing in Beaujolais Nouveau…but I decided to leave it there…probably a good call!

  10. Jill Barth says:

    I have totally enjoyed your pairings on Instagram thia week and in fact it heightened my excitement to open some of the bottles.

    Domaines Piron is such an interesting producer – I reaf about thier experience with loss due to bad weather this spring.

    Great post, Martin!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Jill. I was intrigued by some of his comments as President of Inter-Beaujolais in one of the other posts.

  11. I love the variety of foods you paired the Beaujolais with this week, I’m. intrigued by the chicken adobo.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Jeff. My wife can make it in her sleep. She doesn’t understand why I love it so much…lol. I thought it was good on the bed of polenta..

  12. Billie says:

    I’ve been to Bel Air and had the royal tour of the Crus courtesy of Philippe! Cote du Py with grilled pork tenderloin and blackberry jezebel….Pouring by the glass @ unioncommon in Nashville TN

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks for the comment Billie! I bet that was a great tour! It’s funny we don’t see much Cru Beaujolais (or Beaujolais for the matter) BTG here in CA…that’s too bad!

  13. love the sounds of that mushroom chicken pot pie pairing!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks David. They were quite delicious together!

  14. Love your food and wine pairing style! So true, Beaujolais is such a food-friendly wine I plan to search it out more for my everyday wine …and party wine too 😉 Cheers!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Jane! I think it does make a great every day food friendly red wine! Cheers!

  15. I love your pairings, Martin. And Morgon was our favorite, too. Thanks for your post. I always learn a thing or two or twelve from you!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Cam!

  16. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    I love the pairings ! Definitely going to try a Beajo with some chicken mole!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Nicole. I really enjoyed the Beaujo Village with the chicken mole (which wasn’t spicy hot, but spicy). Its fruitiness definitely helped. I hope you’ll enjoy when you try it!

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