Tag Archives: French wine

The edge: Côte de Brouilly and rose to raspberry to bloody pastilles

9 Jul


Oh shit what is Brouilly? What is the Côte thereof? How doth it stack up? Most that I’ve had from Brouilly proper has bordered on FONNNKY. Funky. Like natural. And now here we are on the border of Brouilly. The Côte.

If you want recaps of all the crus I’ve traversed through thus far here they be:

Régnié

Morgon

Chiroubles 

Fleurie

Moulin-A-Vent

Chénas

Juliénas
And!
Saint-Amour

And now we are on the next to the last of the crus, Côtes de Brouilly!

The example:

2015 Pavillon de Chavannes Cote de Brouilly “Cuvee des Ambassades”

The further south I’ve gone in my tastings the more pastille I get. Pastilles being the candies you see me holding up in the picture to prove I know what I am talking of. The taste being violet, some rose and anise. Lest you doubt my expertise I BOUGHT THESE DANG PASTILLES. FOR YOU DEAR READER. Just to double check.

This one my be the pastille-est of the bunch yet! On the nose you get more rose and raspberry. On the tongue it has the not sweet-sweetness of a pastilles PLUS berries. Oof. And duper super high acid. The alcohol? My WSET trained body said was medium-ish. I am gonna say medium so 13.5% abv maybe? Going to check….OH SHIT! Just 12.5% abv. Heck well it felt like more.

 

I’m just going to be a terrible person and say that I give this wine the major descriptor of NOM. No one uses that term anymore and I don’t believe in it. “Nom” is a stupid term but what the heck. I will be stupid today. I’ll be smart talking about the last of the crus next week. But when I sipped this wine I thought “hell this feels like nummy, funking nummy booze. Nom”.

There you go

Am I sure it is only 12.5 abv? I don’t sound like it, do I? Maybe there’s something else in these pastilles…

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Regnié and a Red Hat

3 Jul


The name of this wine inspired me to put on a red cap of my own.

Apologies to Mets, Cubs and Giants fans in particular, but I’m a Cardinals girl. Okay now that that’s out of the way–

On this Beaujolais journey we have swilled on down:

Morgon

Chiroubles

Fleurie

Moulin-A-Vent

Chénas

Juliénas
And!
Saint-Amour

Okey dokey yea now we are on to Regnié. I talked about it once before.

But this one oh yes.

2012 Bonnet Rouge Regnié

Holy hell no sulfur! Normally I worry about that ending up stanky in a bad way but this is a natural phenomen. 

Thank god or I would think it unseemly… that this is…okay there is no polite way to say but cloudy.

Okay so also it is not penultimate in complexity. But it is more interesting than wines I’ve tasted three times the 10-ish dollar expense of this one.

If you hate: licorice, anise, or tarragon ye best run.

I LOVE this wine and probably would pay three times the amount it was (which would still be medium in price) because it is friggin’ RIFE with licorice-y taste deeeelite..but more than that anise? It makes me think of springerles–cookies my family makes around Christmas.

Which are the magic.

THE magic. This is an alcoholic springerle in a glass.

With just a bit more than a hint of the pastille I get in the Morgon. 

The Morgon has about as much pastille as I got in Chiroubles. This is a tiny region and hell now I want to open all three crus and do an anise-off between them. And I might chase that with some absinthe. Just so I can compare to the hardcore but jeez just all the anise/licorice/pastille etc ness. Y’all.

How does this compare? Oddly the further south I get the fresher the flavor I get. A phenomenon you see in say, Napa Velley but I don’t know it the type of wine (i.e. natural or not) has something to do with it. Still learning.

Anywho this has the delightful Gamay classic flavor of ALL sorts of cherries. Violets. And then that licorice and anise. The licorice and anise overwhelm my tastebuds but I FUCKING LOVE THEM. If you don’t this will undoubtedly be not good to you.

But fuck yah if I would not believe this bottle was 25-30. Not just under ten.

Bargain royalty.

And go Redbirds!! We need to win some more games so I can toast them with this red hat wine. 

Gimme some fleurs 

11 Jun


Real quick: this week we had actress Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures, anyone?) on the podcast. And get into how to talk about cat pee notes in New Zealand wine so…listen to it here!

And now.

Fleuries! Oh yes my dahhhhhlings having gotten through Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, AND those devilish windmills aka Moulin-A-Vent we are  moving on to our darling flowers: Fleurie.

2014 Chateau de Grand Pre Fleurie

The gorgeous thing about French wines is they SOUND like they taste.

Moulins tilt. Saint-Amour is complex as true love. Brouilly brews up trouble and Chénas? Well it chains you to Beaujolais😁. 

Fleurie stays true to its name in that it tends to be more aromatic of flowers like violets. And it can be light and delicate like a lovely rose blossom. Makes you wonder what influences what more–the name or the wine?

I am doing this series probably more for my own education than anyone else’s. 

Ugh okay for all the following add “plus flowers and a whiff bubble gum” to the description and you’ll get the more typical Fleurie I like. Not as flowery and jammy as Beaujolais noveau but Fleurie does have some of those delightful things from time to time. Because carbonic maceration.

This Fleurie appeals to hipsters who like raw and natural. Let’s get WSET-y:

Look: medium and muddy grape-purple colored and the tears are slow but medium.

Nose: Oh funk a hit of oils! But otherwise raw green pepper and cherries and mulberries. Hint of allspice.

On yer tongue: Dry as f and acid as almost f and alcohol also medium (oh let me check label says 13% abv yup medium) tannins medium minus, body medium minus (for red), intensity of flavor is perhaps medium maybe even medium plus.

I’d like some more Fleuries and I’d take some flowers too. But if forced to decide between I’d likely take the wine first. Just sayin’.

Cheers darlings. Pick a flower for me. 

LET US TILT at MOULIN-A-VENT

4 Jun


We are soldiering through the crus like the Beaujolais crusaders we are.

It is funny. I am…well…I do ballet. People tend to think I am delicate but I am not. I am not a flower. I like to think I am a goddamn shrub. Ready to conquer. So…

Is this “I am invincible” concept of myself delusional, like tilting at windmills thinking they are the enemy? 

Nah. 

I don’t tilt at enemies. I tilt at problems and ambitions. And wines. Like this one from an area named for windmills. Except it is named in the French language. I tilt in French. 

AT:

2015 Domaine Laurent Perrachon Moulin-a-Vent “Terres Roses”

Found via Garagiste

SO if this wine were a fight: You see purple. Normally people see red if angered but when moved to tilt, you see the delightful ruby-ish purple of this vin.

Sniff the wind for your target. Clean, medium plus intensity REDOLENT I tell you of purple and red and black plums. All the plums except like maybe the green ones. Earth, spices, a hint of mint and lilac. 

Young as my goddamned soul. That’s a lie I have been seventy since I was 10. But this wine is young as my social life. 

On the palate the vino is dry as sin, acidic as fuck, tannic as all get out which is perhaps why the Perrachon website says to age at least three years. And I waited two. 

Because I also tilt at tannins.

The wine could tilt at the Juliénas. Because as I established a couple of weeks ago Juliénas is heavy. But if this tilted at the Chénas or St-Amour I tasted this wine would knock it the f out.

Alcohol is medium (13% abv) and is full of red cherries, blackberries, purple and black plums, a hint of allspice and more dirt but like tasty dirt. The dirt you eat when, whilst tilting, you take a tumble and eat dirt but you are glad to eat it because it will energize you to get up and keep fighting. There is a knock of pepper in said dirt. The intensity and body of this wine galvanize you.

Get up from that dirt! GO HARD for the finish! The medium plus finish! This fight did not last terribly long, but it was interesting and ever changing. Which if you are not comprehending my stupid metaphors means this wine’s finish could be longer but it is elegantand moves through a few tastes and feelings. Or like the bruises you endured that go from black to red to purple to yellow-green brown before disappearing, this wine has a few faces before leaving you.

GO! Nurse your wounds. Perhaps with wine.

Chénas? CheNOT. Harharhar

22 May


Oh hey this is the wine that held me up from being ready to write my whole Beaujolais series. I could not friggin’ find a Chénas. Until finally Garagiste came through. With:

2015 Pascal Aufranc “En Remont Vignes de 1939”


Please excuse the hasty nature of that pic. Been busy making this podcast n such.

Honestly maybe there is a reason this cru is not around much, because this is possibly my least favorite Beaujolais cru thus far–I’ve  tasted St-Amour, Julienas, Moulin-vent, Fleurie, Morgon, Regnié and Brouilly so far, so I have a tad bit of experience.

Okay. So this Chènas is good but a bit green for me. Okay? So Garagiste says to drink 2018-2024. Okay okay! So maybe I drank it 6 months early and if I’d waited the green would have…evolved…so okay…just okay. 

On the good side! This wine is:

A delicious smell that you can’t quite place. Maybe it smells like blueberry pie. But not in a way that makes you hungry. It smells like lavender and pine trees too but jussssst enough to relax you. And then that is not actually quite the wine’s smell just the essence. 

It is a wine you suck down to chill out on a night in. A quiet time before the next day when you fly off the next job, wine, book, audition, destination whichever…

Or so I surmise. Until I can fly to 2018 and beyond and sip this wine I cannot say where it will go.

I love Gamay enough I’ll give Chénas more tries. Until the I am going to be continuing my trek (virtually) through the crus. Onward!

Et tu, Beaujolais? Yup this Juliénas will kill

21 May


Firstly pretty please check out The Whine Situation, my new comedy n wine podcast on iTunes and  we just got added to Stitcher too yeaaaaaaaa. If you like it n wanna give us an iTunes subscribe or rating all the better. 

One more distraction before the next cru! I was a guest on The Delightful Table, a fantastic blog by my friend Scheherezade features sustainable cooking and seasonal veggies. We experimented pairing “difficult to pair” veggies with wines. Check out the artichoke madness here


And now. We are moving on down through the Beaujolais crus! From flippant Saint-Amour to rather stern Juliénas! A jerk face who is sinister and will beat your mouth up. In a good way, of course!

Named for Caesar. Shall we salad with this wine? Would a Caesar salad pair well? Huh, I feel like maybe not but it’s worth investigating. The wine in question:

2015 David-Beaupere Juliénas “Vayolette”

I got it for about 20 bucks from Garagiste, my favorite source for interesting wines at jolly prices.
Juliénas has a variety of terroirs but the unifying factor tends to be that they are bigger and rougher wines.

This wicked wine was grown in yards of volcanic blue stone, and was made organically. It is a unique devil.

Holy moly it’s high alcohol! 15 % abv. Holy heck it bashes your tongue with little blue pebbles and bramble cranberries! I don’t care if bramble cranberries are not a thing in case you were concerned. I taste violets are blooming in the pebbles to boot. What is this specimen? How is it conquering me with so many different sensations that don’t match yet go together?

And holy holy hell is this wine dark.

Purple as sin. Presuming sin’s true color when showing true colors is purple. The darkness is in flavor too: black pepper, a bit of…I dunno. This is a total snobby “I imagine” tasting note but I bet if those dark purple irises–ya know the flower I’m speaking of?–had a flavor it would be in this wine.

The biggest difference between this and our friend St. Love is the power and the depth. The similarity? The lack of tannins! Many times I taste a tannic wine and describe it as beating my mouth up but this tongue-beater does so without tannins.

Tricky tricky sly sly Caesar.

Now to make that salad (but sans anchovies in the dressing seeing as I’m a vegetarian).

Cheers and tongue-lashings! 

I Feel Amour. The Cycle begins!

15 May


I’ve been saying it for some time. That I was going to do a cycle going through all the lovely Beaujolais crus. Those are: Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vènt, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié,  Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. I came up with a device to remember this: Saint Julian Called Many French Cheapo Madams Really Comely Broads.

And I’ve been feeling the…oh…feeling of spring so what better time to jump into Saint-Amour? The most northerly. We begin at zee beginning.

2015 Pascal Berthier “Esprit de Séduction” Saint-Amour

Beyond waiting for spring fever it took me fucking forever to find a Chenas and I wanted to have located all the crus before starting the dang cycle. But we are here now.

I am feeling love for this Saint-Amour, the most northern of the Beaujolais crus. Ah yes, the granite/clay/schist/limestone soils are on hillier regions than much of the Beaujolais area. Hills can be lovely for wine that wants warmth and sun. And Gamay, the Beaujolais grape, needs a whiff of both.

So far I love this wine and it is loving me back.

Blueberries, y’all. And more blueberries plus blackberries and friggin’ slate blackboard. Picture your childhood art teacher grabbing blue chalk and drawing blueberries and you lick the board and it actually tastes both like the board, the chalk, and the berries. Therrrrre you go. This is a classic gamay in its freshness, berry-ness, a hint of some sort of fortified wine so whaaaa—chamomile/herbs/quinine?—and just more love.

Love y’all back. Next week———–Julienas!

We are cycling together my people. Love you too.