SPECIAL SAMPLER PRICE $286.00
(a 20% discount)
This item does not take further discounts
There is a special sort of joy that washes over me when I unbox a mixed case of Beaujolais. More so than any place in France, the wines from this single region inspire togetherness and generosity in a distinctly lighthearted, carefree way. There’s promise in the way Beaujolais can turn a dull weeknight into an impromptu holiday, or to extend—somewhat surreptitiously—a quick bite with friends into an evening-long celebration. While many regions have followed suit, bottling their own versions of friendly, easy-to-love wines, there is only one Beaujolais. Here’s the breakdown of what we are offering today: From the Gang of Four, we’ve included Guy Breton’s Régnié and Chiroubles cuvées. The former is delicately perfumed and elegant, while the latter has some darker fruit and savory spice. From father-son duo Jean-Paul and Charly Thévenet, we’ve chosen something classic and something new: their time-honored old-vine Morgon, and “Terrain Rouge,” their inaugural vintage of a white wine grown in clay and limestone soils just outside the cru of Morgon. From our beloved growers on the Mont Brouilly, you’ll find Nicole Chanrion and Château Thivin’s Côte-de-Brouilly and Brouilly respectively, as well as a blanc apiece, each embracing its own typicity. Thivin’s “Clos de Rochebonne” is made from Chardonnay, while Chanrion’s unique “Perle de Gamay” is made from direct-pressed Gamay Noir. On opposite ends of the style spectrum, explore the structured, Rhône-like Juliénas and Fleurie bottlings from Chignard (perfect for heartier fare) as well as the juicier and spirited, bouchon Lyonnais-quality rouge and rosé from Dupeuble. If you have the good sense to treat yourself to this sampler, the reward will be much greater than the sum of its parts. A stocked and chilled stash of Beaujolais is not merely an inventory of tasty wine, it’s a reliable group of friends, on call when the mood for something festive, effortless, and utterly delicious strikes.
2020 Régnié • Guy Breton $36.00 2020 Chiroubles “Cuvée Léa” • Guy Breton $40.00 2019 Vin de France Blanc “Perle de Gamay” • Nicole et Romain Chanrion $24.00 2020 Côte-de-Brouilly • Nicole et Romain Chanrion $28.00 2020 Fleurie “Les Moriers” • Domaine Chignard $30.00 2020 Juliénas “Beauvernay” • Domaine Chignard $26.00 2020 Beaujolais • Domaine Dupeuble $18.00 2019 Beaujolais Rosé • Domaine Dupeuble $17.00 2020 Morgon “Vieilles Vignes” • Jean-Paul et Charly Thévenet $40.00 2020 Beaujolais Blanc “Terrain Rouge” • Jean-Paul et Charly Thévenet $36.00 2020 Brouilly “Reverdon” • Château Thivin $29.00 2020 Beaujolais Blanc “Clos de Rochebonne” • Château Thivin $34.00
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.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
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