Most people associate Beaujolais, made with the gamay noir grape, with the “nouveau” versions released annually on the third Thursday of November (Nov. 20), known as “Beaujolais Day.” The nouveau Beaujolais wines are intended for drinking upon release and are mediocre quaffing wines.
Wine lovers will find the underappreciated 10 crus of Beaujolais much more appealing. Listed from North to South in the Beaujolais region, the crus are Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnie, Brouilly, and Cote de Brouilly. These are unique, quality wines, offering more bang for the buck than other wines from the Burgundy region. They can also be drunk young, but will often age beautifully for 3 to 6 years and beyond. 2009, 2010, and 2011 were all outstanding vintages for Beaujolais.
Maison Louis Jadot was founded in 1859 by the Jadot family and is one of the most instantly recognizable of all Burgundy producers. It is also known for value. Jadot’s Chateau Des Jacques is widely recognized as the most prestigious estate in Beaujolais, producing world-class Beaujolais from vineyards in Moulin-à-vent and Morgon crus. Côte du Py is considered the best site among the Morgon crus. The Morgon wines are typically structured, rich, and age-worthy.
This wine offers plenty of pleasure, with hi-tone aromas of cherry sauce, game, and spice, with concentrated flavors of black cherry, black plum, cassis, and beef stock, complemented by an earthy undertone. The wine has a silken texture, fine tannins, and a richness that impresses on the extended, luscious finish. Served best with a slight chill, this wine is very food friendly and a perfect foil for game dishes, including Thanksgiving turkey, pheasant, venison, and bison.
Discover this wine for $30 at Wine Exchange in Orange. Or find the 2010 vintage ($33) at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa. The other 2009, 2010, or 2011 Louis Jadot Beaujolais cru wines are also highly recommended.