It's not "nouveau" at all - in fact the region of Beaujolais was first cultivated by the Romans who planted the areas along its trading route up the Saône valley. The most noticeable Roman vineyard was Brulliacus located on the hillside of Mont Brouilly...
Listening to Billy Joel singing "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" where he highlights the vertues of white and red wine, I could not resist taking you further North of Lyon on our journey back to Paris.
Beaujolais is probably one of most famous names when it comes to French red wine, thanks - or not - to the popularity of the "Beaujolais Nouveau", a marketing ploy devised by the region in the 1980s.
But this young wine can be so bad most years that it actually backfired against the truly amazing Gamay based proper Beaujolais wines.
If i were to mention names like St Amour, Regnier or Chenas, chances are you are not going to identify them as Beaujolais. Et pourtant!!!
Other famous vineyards include Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly and Chiroubles, not to mention Beaujolais-Villages and Cru Beaujolais, a more recent Appelation created just to try to wipe out the bad reputation of Beaujolais Nouveau.
I have to admit that I am the first one to rush to Ultimo Wine Center every November to sample the newly released vintage, and to acknowledge that it is a bit of a Lottery as much as a tradition! Last November was actually quite good, but the previous two years had a lot to be desired. But go and get a good year from Julienas or Moulin-a-Vent , and you will be pleasantly surprised. It is a light red wine which goes well with white meat and fish. It is the best choice to wash down the cuisine of the "bouchons lyonnais", a rustic fare designed to satisfy the lunch appetite of the silk workers in Lyon at the time. Its roughness goes well with charcuterie and "machons" , the traditional "sandwiches" served in these traditional establishments.
Albeit all the recent controversies surrounding George Duboeuf - the most famous "negociant" in the region, you will probably find that they are actually a good choice if you don't know the region's producers well and I would have no reservation recommending any of the wines marketed under their label. After all they won the most recent "Bocuse d'Or" competition for many of their wines.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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