G’day guys and welcome to another installment of my unintentional wine marathon…which I would like to point out is just me writing about wine in succession, not me getting sloshed. Although by the time you read this I will be in New Zealand so that’s a welcome opportunity to have a little drinky in a completely new country with much more pleasant weather. Where I can probably enjoy some whiskey neat like I’m supposed to for a change, perhaps in view of a snow-capped mountain. But as I write this today, I am here now still in Queensland back with some real top notch French wine again.
There are very many famous wine regions in France with great reputation and history, on this site I’ve already covered the Côte du Rhône, a small area inside the Rhône Valley and Bordeaux. Today, I am drinking a wine from yet another famous region: Bourgogne. Or in English; Burgundy. The small region inside Burgundy to be precise, Beaujolais. I’ve learnt over the years that many wine regions have these little regions inside regions. The Côte du Rhône, as we I’ve covered already, the Chianti inside Tuscany, the Grande Champagne and Petit Champagne region inside Cognac. These are the ones I know of so far, it goes without saying there would be many more. It is said that the vineyards of Burgundy produce the best Pinot Noir available, the cool weather of the eastern French region nurturing the fragile, thin skinned Pinot Noir grapes, the terroir rich in lime and clay. Though the soil texture itself is extremely variable, so much so that wine harvests can be different from one vineyard to another. Beaujolais, on the other hand is completely new to me. As is Gamay, the grape with which this wine is made. The only time I had heard of Beaujolais before now was briefly in the pilot episode of Fawlty Towers, a half bottle requested by a hotel patron. Beaujolais, like many other regions of France was first cultivated for wine growing in the Iron Age by the Romans. The wine industry from that point on was typical of the surrounding area, general sacking and pillaging by the likes of the Vikings, the Celts, the Vandals, a budding wine industry that spread thinly throughout the neighboring villages by horse and cart. The invention and spread of the French railroad industry in the Nineteenth century opened up much trade to Beaujolais wine. An industry that, with the obvious interruption of the War, operated without issue and remains successful to this day. Gamay, a grape known for being primarily from Beaujolais. When it was discovered in the city of it’s namesake, sometime just before the introduction of the Fifteenth century, it reinvigorated the decimated wine industry after the French wine industry, as well as the entire continent of Europe reeled from the affects of the Bubonic Plague, a loss of life that went unrivaled except by the Hundred Years War, and the First and Second World War. Compared to Pinot Noir, Gamay vines were easier to plant, and the grapes once established, ripened quicker and produced a strong fruity wine, low in tannins, so the story goes. I think it’s time I see for myself!
The bottle is adorned with a label of a French castle, which unnoticeable at first, features lit rooms within comprising of glossy yellow sections in the windows. Something I’d have missed completely were it not for the flash of my Cybershot. A plain aluminum cap, labelled with a key on a shield. Your average bang-for-buck French import so far. Upon opening the nose is surprisingly fruity and vibrant, very sweet and pleasant. In the glass too, the nose is fruity and inviting, with undertones of white bread. The wine a thin hue of dark pinkish-black. No immediate signs of any sour qualities or tannins. Once given a minute or two to breathe, the nose changes. One way to describe it is a loaf of white bread and a cinnamon bun together in a paper bag. Heavy with pungence of sweet cinnamon sugar, with notes of bread, yeast, sugar and oak. The taste is sweet and fruity, a moderate body with no real tannins and few sour qualities only on the finish. The finish unchallenging and unbothered, similar to a Sauvignon-Blanc. The wine leaves a curious aftertaste of cinnamon on the tip of the tongue. A swirl, a gargle, reveals nothing undiscovered. A full glass too, adds or removes nothing from the equation in comparison.
Closing: This is a sweet, mild wine. A possible aperitif, but I would market this vin to pair with dessert, such is the nature of the bottle. Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Bun ice cream springs immediately to mind. A box of hot jam donuts perhaps? Donuts of course, usually are a breakfast meal so I don’t expect that to catch on, though Churchill drank at all hours of the day, and he still got the job done. Jokes aside, this is a very enjoyable wine. Cheers and I wish you all safe travels these holidays and a Merry Christmas.