A discounted six pack of Beaujolais for your summer table.
As we enter what many consider to be “rosé season,” it’s important to remember that wines of all colors should be enjoyed year-round. For me, this is “chilled red season.” When the days get longer and it’s still a little too warm at 7 p.m. and you just want something refreshing with dinner, it’s almost instinctive to reach for that chilled bottle in your fridge. My advice? Try swapping out a few of those whites and rosés for some light-bodied reds. There are a handful of red wines that grace my summer table, but the Beaujolais from Ghislaine and Stéphane Dupeuble is top of the list. With gentle tannins and seductive aromas of just-picked berries and spice, this charming rouge is easy to drink. My mother, a self-proclaimed unlover of red wine, was shocked when I pulled the Dupeuble Beaujolais from my fridge to pair with dinner recently. Poured alongside grilled short ribs and garden veggies, she was delighted by the Gamay’s fruity and irresistible “juiciness.” It’s become her go-to summer red, and should be yours too. Here’s why: 1.) Gamay takes well to a slight chill. Red wine can be just as rejuvenating to the soul as a cold glass of white—especially a vibrant, chilled Beaujolais. Throw it in the refrigerator for thirty minutes pre-jovial cork popping. 2.) It’s the perfect match for grilled summer fare. Keep it simple. Throw some sausages on a stick. Last weekend I grabbed a bottle from my (dwindling) stock, chilled it, and enjoyed with some fresh-off-the-grill burgers and a strawberry spinach salad al fresco. The combination made for divine backyard dining. 3.) It’s $14.95, and that’s nothing to turn your nose up at! This wine’s the real deal. The grapes are hand harvested, vinified completely without sulfur, fermented with only natural yeasts, and non-filtered. Wines from the Dupeubles are some of the best values in the Beaujolais today, and have been for the past thirty years we’ve been importing them! It’s a steal for a tried-and-true staple of our portfolio, especially as a six-pack deal. Get it while it’s hot.
In the hamlet of Le Breuil, deep in the southern Beaujolais and perched above a narrow creek, the Domaine Dupeuble has been running almost continuously since 1512. Anna’s son Paul, and her grand children Ghislaine and Stéphane Dupeuble, manage the domaine. Today the domaine it is comprised of one hundred hectares, about forty percent of which are vineyards, planted primarily to Gamay. The grapes are harvested by hand and vinified naturally and without SO2. The wines of Dupeuble represent some of the best values in the Beaujolais today and are widely regarded for their very high quality and eminently reasonable price.
After years of the region’s reputation being co-opted by mass-produced Beaujolais Nouveau and the prevalence of industrial farming, the fortunes of vignerons from the Beaujolais have been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Much of this change is due to Jules Chauvet, a prominent Beaujolais producer who Kermit worked with in the 1980s and arguably the father of the natural wine movement, who advocated not using herbicides or pesticides in vineyards, not chaptalizing, fermenting with ambient yeasts, and vinifying without SO2. Chief among Chauvet’s followers was Marcel Lapierre and his three friends, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet—a group of Morgon producers who Kermit dubbed “the Gang of Four.” The espousal of Chauvet’s methods led to a dramatic change in quality of wines from Beaujolais and with that an increased interest and appreciation for the AOC crus, Villages, and regular Beaujolais bottlings.
The crus of Beaujolais are interpreted through the Gamay grape and each illuminate the variety of great terroirs available in the region. Distinguishing itself from the clay and limestone of Burgundy, Beaujolais soils are predominantly decomposed granite, with pockets of blue volcanic rock. The primary vinification method is carbonic maceration, where grapes are not crushed, but instead whole clusters are placed in a tank, thus allowing fermentation to take place inside each grape berry.
Much like the easy-going and friendly nature of many Beaujolais vignerons, the wines too have a lively and easy-drinking spirit. They are versatile at table but make particularly good matches with the local pork sausages and charcuterie. Though often considered a wine that must be drunk young, many of the top crus offer great aging potential.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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