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August 30, 2009

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More to the Beaujolais style than a drop of nouveau

EVERY year on the third Thursday of November at midnight, Beaujolais nouveau hits the shelves and aficionados around the world rally to taste the Cru of the year. Whether itís gifted with exotic fruit aromas or more conventional flavors, the ritual of sampling the yearís newest young French drop has become a global movement.
But there is more to this lovely wine region, tucked between Lyon and Burgundy, than Beaujolais nouveau. Indeed, this area is famous for producing generally exclusively gamay grape vintages with a thin skin and few tannins. The Cru Beaujolais is composed of 10 distinctive villages. Each of these appellation of controlled origin (AOC) styles have their own specific aroma and flavor characters and produce the best wines of the region.
Though a traditional French wine producing region, it knows modern marketing and new market potential and Shanghai recently hosted a Beaujolais Speed Wining event at the Wine Residence on Jiangyin Road. Speed wining is about tasting 12 wines in an hour with each appellation the focus of a five-minute tasting and evaluation. Wang Qiyu, a Taiwanese wine expert shared his knowledge on Beaujolais wines and how to taste them.
Fully enjoy
ìBeaujolais nouveau wines are not to be kept long and should be enjoyed within a year of production because the grapes are only macerated a few days,?he said. ìThey are meant to be drunk as young as possible to fully enjoy their fruitiness and freshness. The rest of the Beaujolais wines are produced by typical local wine-making techniques. Cru Beaujolais has the potential to age longer, some not even fully developing till at least three years after harvest.?
Premium examples from Chènas, Juliènas, Morgon and Moulin ?Vent can be kept up to 10 years, continuing to develop in the bottle.
Among the 12 wines offered were 2002 to 2007 vintages from Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, Julienas, Saint-Amour, Moulin-?Vent, Brouilly, Morgon, Chènas and Fleurie. Notable was the 2007 Saint-Amour Collin-Bourisset for its slightly spicy and crisp kirch and raspberry aroma. It was woody yet with mild tannins. The 2006 Moulin a Vent Georges Duboeuf had all the density and complexity one could wish for and was therefore ideal to be drunk right away.
The 2005 Chènas Descombes left a special impression with its fine nose, strong body and multi-layered aromas, very different from the other fruity wines offered for tasting. The last wine of the tasting, the 2002 Louis Jadot Morgon Chateau des Lumieres was typical of Beaujolais wines that can be stored over 10 years. It possessed round tannins, with intense aromas of walnut and red fruits, and a long, lingering finish.
The Beaujolais wine industryís new direction of growth is toward lower density production and more organic producers. All together it aims at changing the perception of Beaujolais as a simple wine region.


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