Beaujolais Lingo Saturday, May 8 2010 

We featured several Beaujolais wines a few weeks ago, and as I was preparing the newsletter, I realized there were several terms that might sound a little foreign. (Well, they are foreign.) So here’s a little Beaujolais primer to help you navigate the wines of this alluring region.

Beaujolais (bow-jo-lay)

A region just south of Burgundy, between Lyon and Mâcon. Known for clay and limestone soils, with pockets of gravel. Primary grapes grown are: Gamay (red) and Chardonnay, with a little bit of Pinot Noir and Burgogne Aligoté grown as well. This region is known for using a fermentation technique called carbonic maceration (see below) that creates light, fruity wines that are low in tannins.

Carbonic Maceration

A special kind of fermentation. Rather than pressing the grapes and adding yeast to ferment the grape sugars into ethanol (alcohol), wine makers place whole clusters of grapes in closed fermentation tanks that are infused with carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide penetrates the grapes and starts an intracellular fermentation within each single. Enzymes in the grape pulp convert the sugar into ethanol, thus fermenting the juice while it is still inside the grape skin. This process creates certain flavor compounds along with the alcohol, and as the juice has minimal contact with the grape skins, the resulting wine is lighter colored and lower in tannins.

Beaujolais Nouveau
Perhaps the most famous category of Beaujolais, this style emphasizes the flavors created by carbonic maceration and sometimes retains a small amount of dissolved CO2. The quick fermentation is followed by immediate bottling. The very light, fruity wines are released to the market on the third Thursday of November.

Beaujolais-Villages
A wine from any one (or combination) of 33 villages recognized for their quality soil and climate.

Cru Beaujolais
A Cru Beaujolais is a wine that comes from one of the ten designated Cru Villages (Morgon, Fleurie, Julienas, Moulin-à-Vent, St. Amour, Chénas, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Chiroubles, and Régnié). These are considered the best vineyard locations, and often have plantings that are 50-100+ yearsThe name of the village will be listed on the label.

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Paris Grocery News 4/8 Thursday, Apr 8 2010 

One of our favorite parts of this job (besides the yummy free samples we get to take home) is advocating for misunderstood or overlooked products. It’s easy for things to get lost in translation or misrepresented when they leave their native home. Beaujolais wine is often dismissed outside of France, and we often are left wondering why. The Gamay grape flourishes in the mild climate and gravelly soil of the region, resulting in a delicious array of ethereal wines. Perhaps they are misunderstood it because their appeal lies in a certain subtlety and finesse, whereas wines produced and consumed in the States tend to be powerful and brash. Beaujolais’ lightness and grace, however, is what makes them ideal for pairing with food– they match well with fish and fowl alike, and elevate the flavors of sauces, stuffings, and side dishes. It is easy to mistake a dark color and heavy body for complexity, but Beaujolais’ brilliant rubies hold incredible length and a fusion of aromas and flavors that are earthy, floral, and fruity. With the weather turning slowly towards warmth and sunshine, it the perfect time to explore (or rediscover) these undervalued wines, especially since they are available for truly stellar prices!

C'est beau, le Beaujolais !

2009 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais Primeur ($14.99)

The ultimate food wine: this is not a soda pop-style Beaujolais! The Chermettes were among the pioneers of sustainable viticulture in the Beaujolais and their wines are made in a traditional way. Using natural yeasts and little or no fermentation, Chermette Beaujolais Primeur is a true expression of terroir. Unlike many Beaujolais Nouveaus, it improves with bottle age.

2007 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages ($11.99)

Josh Reynolds said, “Fans of graceful, tangy, minerally Beaujolais will find plenty to like from both 2007 and 2008,” and this bottle is a fine example. The great-grandchildren of Joseph Drouhin still run the centuries-old winery. For their Beaujolais-Villages, the grapes are hand-harvested and some of them undergo carbonic fermentation. The resulting wine is graceful, with a refined, highly aromatic nose and silky tannins. Bright red berries, cherries, and peonies dominate, with the fresh fruit persisting on the finish. A convivial wine, ideal for dinners with Cornish hen and flavorful dishes, this wine is also a winner on its own.

2008 Terres Dorées Beaujolais “L’Ancien” ($16.99)

Domaine des Terres Dorées is located just north of Lyon, in the area known as “The Land of the Golden Stones.” The founder and winemaker, Jean-Paul Brun, is a relentless advocate for winemaking à l’ancienne. While Beaujolais has come to be associated with a “fruit candy” genre of winemaking, Brun makes old-style Gamay wines. He does not add sugars to his wine and uses only indigenous yeasts for his fermentation, instead of the lab-developed strain popular in the region for its banana and candy aromas. This Beaujolais is 100% old-vine Gamay, delicate and pure, showing excellent balance, freshness, and acidity. Mineral-driven, with bright cherry, cranberry, and sweet spices melding into a lengthy finesse. A remarkable value: consider it a poor man’s Burgundy!
90 points Wine Advocate

NEW CHEESES AND FOODS AT PARIS GROCERY

We are thrilled to be carrying two kinds of charcuterie from renowned charcuterie maker Creminelli. We can’t pick a favorite so you’ll have to try them both!

Salame Tartufo

This award-winning truffle salame is the perfect example of excess being just enough. The delicate aroma of truffles allows the full pork flavor to shine through. $9.25/ quarter lb

Wild Boar Salame

Made from wild boar meat and pork belly, this Creminelli salame is seasoned with wine-soaked cloves and juniper berries. Lean yet silky, with a full, distinctive flavor, it lends an exotic touch to your recipes and charcuterie platters. $10.75/ quarter lb

Now in Stock!

Fabrique Delices Cured Duck Salami, Gabietou (raw cow’s and sheep’s milk cheese), Boursin Cheese in Roasted Red Pepper and other flavors, Griottines (morello cherries in brandy), and Scharffen Berger Roasted Cocoa Nibs.