Wednesday night I participated in the Beaujolais Taste Live event called "The Feminine Side of Beaujolais: a focus on the lighter style crus". I disagree with the assignment of gender to wines; it's like saying beef is for men and poultry is for women, ignoring the manly appreciation of fried chicken, chicken wings, and turduckens. You can drink a rosé while holding a rifle and standing over the corpse of a 500kg/1100lb moose. It doesn't cause you to lose any man points.
Indeed, during the tasting I brought up the concept of "quiet strength". Think about Gary Cooper or James Stewart. They didn't make their way in Hollywood through explosions and screaming, but none would deny the power in the roles they played. Cru Beaujolais is sort of like that. It's not going to hit you upside the head with a baseball bat, but there's some great structure and complexity. I also recommended during the online tasting that many of these would be great with game like duck, rabbit, venison, etc.
With this tasting we covered four of the crus, including one that's new to me: Chiroubles. That leaves only one cru to try, my white whale, Côte de Brouilly. I must admit that I was really excited about this tasting. I love good Beaujolais, and these bottles represent producers that I haven't seen in Memphis.
2009 Domaine Cheysson Chiroubles
$19, 12.5% abv.
Little meaty on the nose, with a touch of rose petals and leather. A little tart acidity, cherry flavors, and a very light body and finish. Serve with some smoked salmon and toast points, capers, that sort of thing. Think about an occasion where you would serve a young Pinot Noir, and this is your pick.
2009 Henry Fessy Brouilly
$17, 13.5% abv.
Toast, with a hint of black cherry jam. Light cherry flavors with a little woody undertone. This wine is practically screaming for some pissaladière, the onion pizza of Provence. This wine also takes advantage of a bit of breathing, but the rewards are great.
2009 Charly Thevenet “Grain et Granit” Régnié
$36, 13% abv.
This is the deepest of the group, with a strong prune aroma with a bit of cinnamon. Medium body, firm black cherry flavors, and just a little tannic edge--the only one that showed any tannins. No argument here: grill up some lamb. Chops, legs, ribs, doesn't matter. Grab some ground lamb and make burgers to go with brioche rolls and mesclun greens and aioli.
2009 Alain Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie
$20, 13% abv.
Bacon fat and a little smoke, ballet dancer light and delicate, it simply melts in your mouth. Just a hint of a raspberry flavor. I loved the way this one rolled around, and when I say "ballet dancer", what I mean is this: the wine seemed to expertly respond to my palate, even as I tried it with a few different foods. It was graceful but professional, and was a sheer delight.
Note: These wines were received as samples.