Today’s cellar note continues our experience with Cru Beaujolais. After years of thinking we did not like Beaujolais, we are discovering that when it comes to Cru Beaujolais we are almost never disappointed. We now look for them on restaurant wine lists and instead of dreading that a Beaujolais might be included in a wine club shipment, we look forward to receiving a Cru Beaujolais.
For years we lumped all Beaujolais into one category, making no distinction among Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages and Cru Beaujolais-classified wines. Rookie mistake. But, broadly speaking, when it comes to Cru Beaujolais we’ve discovered wines with depth of flavor and good structure that are dynamite food partners.
So, here’s our advice. Start your Beaujolais exploration with Cru Beaujolais wines. Starting with the top-classified wine won’t break the bank in Beaujolais like it does in Burgundy. Taste by Cru and decide if you have a favorite, or just taste them randomly and enjoy the adventure.
This is another Les Marchands wine club find and we liked it so much we wanted to share our experience with you. We received this wine with one of our regular shipments a few months ago.
Domaine de la Grand’Cour, Le Clos Vieilles Vignes, Fleurie — light garnet in the glass, bordering on translucent. Complex aromas of dusty earth, red fruit and black pepper give way to flavors of tart raspberries, blackberries, dry earth, savory herbs, hints of cedar and nutmeg. Tannins are smooth and they last into the very long finish. This wine is medium bodied with lots of texture, but without grippy tannins. The flavors gained complexity with time in the glass and over the two days it took us to empty the bottle. 14.5% abv. $38
About two seconds after tasting this wine Peter exclaimed, “Boy, I could drink about a bottle of that!” I’m not sure how many points, in terms of a wine rating, that would translate to, but I’d say at least 92. The complexity of aromas and flavors along with a medium body, smooth tannins and extraordinary texture make this wine memorable. And it tasted even better on day 2 than when we opened it.
The Dutraive family winemaking history dates back five generations. Jean-Louis Dutraive represents the current generation making wine at Domaine de la Grand’Cour, having taken over from his father, Jean, in 1989. Jean established Domaine de la Grand’Cour in Fleurie in 1969.
Jean-Louis cultivates just over 28 acres of Gamay vines in Fleurie and Brouilly. He farms organically and has been certified by ECOCERT since 2009.
Le Clos vineyard is nearly 20 acres of vines ranging in age from 30 to 70 years. This bottling, Vieilles Vignes (old vines), is made using just the oldest vines in the vineyard. All grapes are harvested by hand.
Jean-Louis Dutraive’s winemaking style is hands off. He makes his wines using indigenous yeast and without adding sulfur. Aging takes place in used oak barrels and wines are neither fined nor filtered before bottling.
We paired this wine with roasted salmon and cauliflower rice. Divine!