17 Apr 2011

The wine of the week is a Beaujolais

I have recently spoken, and perhaps too often, about wines costing 20 euros a bottle or even more. I am about to amend my evil ways, at least for a while, although we all know that the fickle finger of fate may intervene at any time. This weeks's wine costs a mere 5 euros from the estate that produces it!


The wines of Beaujolais, just north of the city of Lyon, have been much maligned over recent years, most probably on account of too many bad wines coming from this beautiful region, usually under the appellation Beaujolais Nouveau, but not exclusively. I should say that there are good Beaujolais Nouveau as well. This wine is not "nouveau". It has in fact just been released from the 2010 vintage and it is one of the most delicious drinks of red wine that I have experienced for a while. To give you some idea of how much I like it, I bought a case of 6 bottles less than a week ago when visiting the producer and I only have 3 left! It is true that I have had a little help from my friends. But it is equally true that I always have a lot of different wines hanging around waiting to be tasted. So this means something.


Domaine Les Bruyères is a small wine estate whose main commercial activity (it is also a family home) is renting appartments on the estate (these are known as gîtes in France). You may have trouble finding it as the name is also used by many other estates, often in other wine areas, so here is the contact:

Anne-Dominique et Bernard VACHON, Les Bruyères, 573 Chemin St Jean, 69220 Pommiers (near Saint Lager) tel : 06 80 84 14 71

And here is a picture of the buildings, looking towards the wing that harbours the gîtes. It does not unfortunately show the surroundings, which are beautiful, but the vines in the foreground are the ones that produce the wine I am talking about here. To enquire about this form of rental, you should go to the web site of Gîtes de France, Beaujolais (section gîte rural). The reference numbers of the 2 charming appartments whose façades are to be seen in the photograph are 1525 and 1526.



I really like the label of this wine (see above), as it is simple and elegant, showing the name Beaujolais in a finely legible script, with the estate and the owners' names printed clearly but in smaller type below. The back label tells a story about the place it comes from, avoiding any bla-bla about the wine, which is allowed to speak for itself. And this wine speaks very well and clearly.

Its aromas remind us of ripe and fresh fruit, with just a whiff of woodland that adds a vision of the hills beyond the vines. On the palate, the texture is smooth and quite full, surrounding the crisp fruit flavours that are vivacious and finely tuned. The first glass makes you want another one, always a good sign for this type of wine whose light alcohol levels compared to so many modern wines are a real joy for the hedonistic drinker who hates getting drunk!

The same producer also makes a very good rosé, sold, at the same very reasonable price, under the name Gamay rosé (gamay is the red Beaujolais grape).

I think I am am going to buy a few more cases of the red Beaujolais, as it has to be the ideal summer red wine. And maybe a bit of rosé too...