Recently I attended a seated food and wine pairing event hosted by Mr. Anthony Collet, Marketing Manager for Beaujolais Wines. The goal of this event was to celebrate the bounty of local ingredients paired with Beaujolais wines. We enjoyed these wines and learned about the versatility of the wines for food pairings at Tuc Craft Kitchen in Gastown.
Beaujolais and Beaujonomic
You may ask what does Beaujonomic mean? It is a word created by combining Beaujolais with Gastronomic. The Beaujolais want us to learn more about their wines, made from the Gamay grape. Gamay has flexibility in style and could be classified as Fruity and Delicious, Fine and Flavoured, and Intense and Generous, which gives you a wide range of foods from seafood poke to roast beef to enjoy it with.
What do you know about Beaujolais wine? I’ve already mentioned that it is made from the red Gamay grape, which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Both are low tannic wines, have medium acidity, red fruit and floral aromas and flavours in the lighter styles, moving to darker, riper red fruits and spices with bigger, riper styles. These wines, as well as Pinot Noir, are best served with a slight chill.
The origin of the grapes is the Beaujolais region in southeastern France, just south of Burgundy. The region is warmer than Burgundy and can produce a bigger wine. The region has steep terrain so hand harvesting is a must. Beaujolais wines can be made with whole cluster carbonic maceration, which results in a lighter fruity style, or can be crushed and fermented like other red grapes, then aged in barrel producing a fuller style which can age for decades.
Appellations and Crus
The Beaujolais region is formed from 12 appellations, of which 10 are termed Crus. The 10 Crus are smaller regions within the whole Beaujolais region and are viewed as producing a higher quality wine, than the basic Beaujolais or Beaujolais Villages wines. Certain Cru are known to produce one of the three styles that I earlier outlined.
Wine Styles and Associated Crus or Appellations
- Fruity and Delicious – Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages
- Fine and Flavoured – Brouilly, Chirobles, Fleurie, Regnie, and Saint-Amour
- Intense and Generous – Chenas, Cote de Brouilly, Julienas, Morgon, and Moulin-a-Vent
During our educational seminar, we tried wines covering these three styles and paired them with dishes, both savoury and sweet. Our pairings were:
Salmon Sashimi with
Beaujolais JEAN-PAUL BRUN DOMAINE DES TERRES DORÉES, L’ANCIEN 2016
Fleurie VILLA PONCIAGO, LA RÉSERVE 2014
Cured Elk and Smoked Eggs Mousse with
Beaujolais Villages LOUIS JADOT, COMBE AUX JACQUES 2016
Chénas PASCAL AUFRANC, VIGNES DE 1939 2014
Pork Marsala with
Brouilly CHÂTEAU DE PIERREUX 2016
Morgon MATHIEU & CAMILLE LAPIERRE 2016
Pear Fritter & Coconut Curd with
Chiroubles STEEVE CHARVET 2015
Moulin-à-Vent LUCIEN LARDY, LES THORINS 2015
My Tasting Notes
The wines were shown starting in the lighter style and progressing to the more intense style.
Beaujolais JEAN-PAUL BRUN DOMAINE DES TERRES DORÉES, L’ANCIEN 2016 ($24.49) – This wine is hand harvested, fermented and aged in concrete barrel, using indigenous yeast. A wine that is as near to natural, without the official designation. It is medium translucent garnet. Very fruity nose, with aromas of red cherries, red fruit, tea leaves and a hint of menthol. Medium minus body, dry with medium acidity and light tannins. Raspberries and red fruit flavours, with a touch of spice toward the finish. Some minerality as well. An easy to sip, and elegant wine.
Fleurie VILLA PONCIAGO, LA RÉSERVE 2014 ($26.99) – Deeper garnet in colour, but still translucent in the glass. Lighter intensity nose, with ripe red fruits and some bramble aromas. Legs visible. Fuller body, soft with medium acidity. A mineral streak, along with flavours of a mixture of black cherries and red fruits. Medium to firm tannins. –
Beaujolais Villages LOUIS JADOT, COMBE AUX JACQUES 2016 ($22.99) – This wine has undergone a partial carbonic maceration (think Beaujolais Nouveaux). Deep translucent ruby in colour. Light, sweet candied cherry nose, along with sweet raspberries, floral, and a hint of red rhubarb. Medium plus body, dry, round, with a lighter mouthfeel. Perfumed, red fruit, and red cherry flavours along with a mineral streak and a spicy finish. Lighter tannic feel on the finish. –
Chénas PASCAL AUFRANC, VIGNES DE 1939 2014 ($26.99) – This wine is produced by 75-year-old vines on a small 3.75 acre plot. This Cru is known for smokiness or cigar box. I did pick up toastiness on this wine as you shall read. The wine is aged for 8 months in concrete vats on their lees. Deep, almost opaque garnet in colour. Dusty, nutmeg, perfume, toastiness, and dark fruit aromas, along with a hint of capsicum. Full body, round with a heavier mouthfeel. Quite floral along with ripe red cherries on the palate. A hint of capsicum and some spices. Firmer tannins on the finish along with some dustiness. A more mature wine. –
Brouilly CHÂTEAU DE PIERREUX 2016 ($19.99) – This winery we were told has the best terroir in the appellation. Their vineyard currently has 45-year-old vines, which they have planted in high density (hand harvesting needed). The wines were casked aged for 7 months in 50 hL fondre (larger than a regular oak barrel) after being vinified in concrete vats. The result should be a wine that can age for 10 years. This wine was medium translucent garnet in colour. Medium minus intensity aromas of ripe red fruit, some meatiness and later smoke. It is off-dry, full-bodied, with a round mouthfeel. Flavours of candied red cherries, plums, and red apples followed by darker fruits and some pepperiness from mid-palate to finish. Salty minerality. Nice level of acidity to balance the full body of this wine. Fine tannins with a long lingering finish. Quality.
Morgon MATHIEU & CAMILLE LAPIERRE 2016 ($44.99) – This is a wine from an organic winemaker, who using indigenous yeasts, and no SO2. We were told that the soil for this area is a mix of granite, blue stone, alluvial and clay soils. My interesting observation is that Anthony indicated that clay adds fruitiness and roundness to a wine. This wine is a lighter translucent garnet in colour. It is lightly perfumed with violets, cinnamon, vanilla, and candied red cherries. A very elegant nose. It is dry with a heavier mouthfeel; silky to start but has medium tannins that get stronger toward the finish. Chalky minerality, bright light red fruit, red cherries, vanilla and sweet spice on the palate. Medium length. This wine is a balance between fun and serious.
Chiroubles STEEVE CHARVET 2015 ($29.99) – This wine is made from hand-picked grapes, fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for 6 months in concrete vats. It is deep translucent ruby in colour. Ripe sweet dark fruit aromas, together with some vanilla and dustiness. Full body, round, with medium plus acidity. Ripe black fruit, kirsch cherries, and some spiciness. Red crab apples toward the finish and a hint of orange peel. We were told by Anthony that orange peel flavour naturally evolves as the Gamay grape ages. Fine tannins.
Moulin-à-Vent LUCIEN LARDY, LES THORINS 2015 ($30.99) – This wine has undergone fermentation using native yeasts, then aged for 8 months in stainless steel vats, with 15% going in neutral oak barrels, then blended. The wine is an opaque mix of ruby and garnet in colour. A nice flowery nose, together with candied fruit and red fruits. Medium plus body, round with higher acidity and soft tannins. The wine shows soft ripe dark cherry and black fruit flavours. I also picked up some violets and minerality as well on the palate. The tannins do firm up on the finish. –
The Salmon Sashimi is a delicate dish. It did have green tomato along with the acidity in the tomato to add interest to the soft texture of the salmon. Of the two wines, I preferred the Beaujolais JEAN-PAUL BRUN DOMAINE DES TERRES DORÉES, L’ANCIEN 2016 as it formed a complementary pairing with its fruit and acidity, and did not overpower the sashimi.
The Cured Elk and Smoked Eggs Mousse had nice smoky and onion flavours, along with texture from the elk. The Chénas PASCAL AUFRANC, VIGNES DE 1939 2014 was my selection for this pairing. I thought that this wine made the onion flavour in the dish come out as well as the dish made the floral component of this wine more prominent. Nice.
Next was the Pork Masala, a slice of juicy pork tenderloin, together with onion flavour. The Morgon MATHIEU & CAMILLE LAPIERRE 2016 made a nice complementary pairing with this dish. Besides the pork tenderloin, there were the roasted root vegetables that went well with this wine.
Lastly, we had a Pear Fritter & Coconut Curd for dessert. Cinnamon in the fritter was prominent, as well as the overall sweetness of the dish being a dessert. Pairing this with a red wine? Indeed this does work, as Beaujolais wines have softer tannins, more acidity and fruit, which makes it a versatile wine to pair with many dishes. For this dish I enjoyed both wines with this dish, but for different reasons. The Chiroubles STEEVE CHARVET 2015 I felt complemented the pear in this dish, while the Moulin-à-Vent LUCIEN LARDY, LES THORINS 2015 meshed more with the fritter texture and the cinnamon spice.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
These wines are all available through BC Liquor stores. Beaujolais has price points to fit your budget, as you can see from this tasting from $19.99 to $44.99. Give Beaujolais a try over the holidays and see how gastronomic it can be.