WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vissoux, Brun)

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vissoux, Brun)

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:08 pm

Beaujolais for Turkey Day

Of course it's only a coincidence that the annual Beaujolais Nouveau day (third Thursday in November) arrives just a week before the American Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November).

But it's a happy coincidence, because it draws our attention to Beaujolais - and the Gamay grape in general - as an interesting option when we're making the annual decision about what wine to serve with roast turkey and all the traditional holiday trimmings.

I've touched on this topic already this season in reports on "Beaujolais, not Nouveau" on Nov. 8, and on the Gamay-based sparkler "Bugey Cerdon" in Friday's edition, as reasonable choices with turkey. Today we take a quick look at three more Beaujolais, including a sample of this year's just-arrived Nouveau. First, though, a couple of quick thoughts about <i>why</i> I like Beaujolais as a holiday pick.

* <b>It's affordable</b>. In an era of rising wine prices, you can still get good, basic Beaujolais for $10 or less, and even the more respected "<i>cru</i>" villages rarely go much past the middle teens.

* <b>It's food-friendly</b>. A distant cousin to its Burgundian neighbor Pinot Noir in style if not in DNA, it offers an appealing burst of forward, strawberry-like fruit with mouth-watering acidity and, in the best examples, subtle Old World earthiness that helps it bridge the varied dishes that weigh down the holiday table ... including both light and dark turkey meat.

* <b>It passes my "cranberry sauce test</b>." Cranberry sauce is a traditional condiment with turkey because it's both fruity and tart, so when you're seeking a match with turkey, choose a wine with a similar flavor profile. Beaujolais fits this to a T (or maybe a B); similar principles also lead us to other worthy matches including Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chenin Blanc and the festive option, Champagne and other sparkling wines.

Riesling is currently leading the "Best Wine with Turkey" sweepstakes in our CompuServe/Netscape WineLovers Community poll, by the way, with Pinot Noir and Beaujolais fighting it out for second place. We'll leave this poll active through the holiday, so if you haven't yet voted, please click here to name your favorite.

Now, in abbreviated form, here are my weekend notes on a trio of Beaujolais, tasted side-by-side with friends over a simple weekend dinner, not turkey but a comforting dish of cheese-and-spinach-stuffed Italian manicotti. The tasting lineup included a bright and tutti-frutti <b>Joseph Drouhin 2006 Beaujolais Nouveau</b>, an almost aggressively earthy old-vines <b>2004 Domaine du Vissoux</b>, and a splendid <b>2005 Cote de Brouilly</b> from <b>Jean-Paul Brun</b>, a <i>Cru</i> Beaujolais from the outstanding producer whose basic '05 Beaujolais I featured Nov. 8. All three wines should work well with turkey dinner, are drinkable now but won't benefit from cellaring, and represent reasonable value at their price points.

<table border="0" align="right" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/drou1118.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Joseph Drouhin 2006 "Primeur" Beaujolais Nouveau ($11.99)

Clear ruby in color, this one strikes me as a typical Beaujolais Nouveau from an industrial-scale but respected producer. Its ripe, forward tutti-frutti aromas offer a mix of banana and artificial strawberry flavor, coming together in a scent that's eerily reminiscent of those giant pink children's candies called "circus peanuts." Juicy and ripe, it's not as over-the-top on the palate, abundant red-berry fruit and crisp acidity, but yes, we do have bananas. U.S. importer: Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., NYC. (Nov. 18, 2006)

Find it on Wine-Searcher.com.

<table border="0" align="left" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/cher1118.jpg" border="1" align="left"></td></tr></table>Pierre-Marie Chermette 1004 "Domaine du Vissoux" Cuvée Traditionnelle Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes ($12.99)

This is a rather light ruby color, not much deeper in hue than a dark ros&eacute;. Distinct "horsey" notes dominate red-berry fruit aromas. Crisp and fresh in flavor, good fresh strawberries, but it's just loaded with <I>brettanomyces</i> wild yeast flavors, redolent of sweaty horses, well-used saddles and the barnyard. This one will separate the men from the boys, as the saying goes, but I like it. Okay, I like a <i>little</i> of it. The back label indicates that it's naturally fermented with wild yeasts from the grapes and bottled with "little or no" filtering, demonstrating that "natural" wine making can be a challenge. U.S. importer: Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, Pa. (Nov. 18, 2006)

Find it on Wine-Searcher.com.

<table border="0" align="right" width="126"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/brun1118.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Jean-Paul Brun 2005 Terres Dorées Côte de Brouilly ($14.99)

My love affair with Brun's Beaujolais continues with this beautifully balanced wine. It's a clear, not quite transparent ruby color, breathing scents of strawberries, fresh and true, luscious but not over the top, with subtle earthiness in the background. Tart, cleansing acidity provides structure unusual in a Beaujolais, with red berries and cherries and earthy minerality lingering in a long finish. U.S. importer: LDM Wines Inc., NYC; Louis/Dressner Selections. (Nov. 18, 2006)

Find it on Wine-Searcher.com.
User avatar
Robin Garr
Forum Janitor
 
Posts: 17269
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vissoux, Brun)

Postby Steve_LW » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:40 pm

I have had the 04 Vissoux a bunch of times and while it has a touch of brett, I have yet to have a bottle where its more than an accent. I wonder if the bottle you had got too warm and let the brett get out of hand?
Steve L e w i s-Workman
Steve_LW
Cellar rat
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:26 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vissoux, Brun)

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:55 pm

Steve_LW wrote:I have had the 04 Vissoux a bunch of times and while it has a touch of brett, I have yet to have a bottle where its more than an accent. I wonder if the bottle you had got too warm and let the brett get out of hand?


Good question, Steve. Frankly, I don't find that brett works that way (at least in my experience), but I've certainly seen cases where it either increased over time (or else, maybe, the fruit faded to unveil more of it). Have you had one lately?
User avatar
Robin Garr
Forum Janitor
 
Posts: 17269
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vissoux, Brun)

Postby Steve_LW » Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:12 pm

I have had one in the last month or so. I have several left as well as a small pile of the 05. If you can't tell by now, I really really like Vissoux.....as well as Beaucastel, Musar and other wines with questionable levels of funk so may I just like it that way. I'll try one on the next few days and see how it goes.
Steve L e w i s-Workman
Steve_LW
Cellar rat
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:26 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vi

Postby Otto » Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:17 pm

Steve_LW wrote:If you can't tell by now, I really really like Vissoux.....as well as Brettcastel, Musar and other wines with questionable levels of funk so may I just like it that way.


Mooooooose! :D You've got good tastes Steve! Do you like Cantillon's Lambic beers also? That is essence of Brettanomyces bruxellensis IMO - bloody brilliant stuff.

Robin, I thought heat is ideal breeding ground for Brettanomyces - at least I seem to remember Anders in chat saying something like that.

-O-
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
User avatar
Otto
Musaroholic
 
Posts: 4066
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:07 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vi

Postby Steve_LW » Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:24 pm

Hello Otto. No I have never tried Cantillon's beers. I see the following on a beer list in a restaurant near me.

CANTILLON Bruocsella 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Gueuze 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Iris 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Kriek 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Rose de Gambrinus 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Vigneronne 11.2oz Belgium
CANTILLON Vigneronne 750ml Belgium

Which would you recommend?
Steve L e w i s-Workman
Steve_LW
Cellar rat
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:26 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Drouhin, Vi

Postby Otto » Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:33 pm

Steve_LW wrote:Hello Otto. No I have never tried Cantillon's beers. I see the following on a beer list in a restaurant near me.

CANTILLON Bruocsella 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Gueuze 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Iris 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Kriek 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Rose de Gambrinus 750ml Belgium
CANTILLON Vigneronne 11.2oz Belgium
CANTILLON Vigneronne 750ml Belgium

Which would you recommend?


All. I've not tasted even one bad beer from Cantillon (apart from the one corked one of course). I think the Gueuze, Kriek and Grand Cru Bruocsella are the classics. They are all very dry - even the Kriek is unsweetend (thankfully) though sugary Kriek seems to be the norm otherwise today. The GC Bruocsella is an amazing, old (5 YO matured IIRC?) unblended (iirc?) lambic. (Gosh, I really need to refresh my beer-memory.) It is very low in carbonation, almost still, yet it is incredibly complex. The Bruocsella may be the most unique and amazing of the beers, but frankly I more often want a Kriek or a Gueuze.

The Rose de Gambrinus is a Kriek-like beer, but much less intense (yet still totally dry and "tough"). It's ok, but if you can get the Kriek, go for that. The Vigneronne IIRC is made like a Kriek but with Chardonnay instead of cherries. The owners are mad-keen wine geeks and have contacts to wineries. They also make a beer with Merlot! It is very nice, tart and fresh with a curiously Chablis-like aroma in it, so the Chardonnay does really come out well.

I've had the Iris, but I'm sorry, I can't remember what it was. I do remember it was tasty.

I should learn to take notes on beer also. My memory fails me in too many instances in this post.

-O-
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
User avatar
Otto
Musaroholic
 
Posts: 4066
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:07 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland


Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 6 guests