by Lesley Quinn
Beaujolais is that light easy to drink wine made from the Gamay grape variety in the Burgundy region of France. On the label you can expect to see 5 different types of Beaujolais.
If on the label you see just the single word Beaujolais you are purchasing the most basic wine type. If it says Beaujolais Supérieur it is still the most basic wine it has just reached a higher degree of alcohol so it will have a superior affect on your motor functions. If the label says Beaujolais-Villages the wine is blend from 38 villages in the area that make a higher quality wine. Then there is Beaujolais Nouveau, this wine is released on the third Thursday of November which is only weeks after the grapes have even been picked. Beaujolais Nouveau is like a preview of the vintage, and it is meant to be consumed within 6 months of it’s November release date. Then at the top of the pyramid you have the 10 Beaujolais Crus. Each Cru is meant to show distinct characteristics, almost like how Actors’ personalities are distinct. Here is my comparison of the 10 Beaujolais Crus with some modern day famous faces, to help make this wine region as easy to digest as the actual wine is.
We will start with the most Northern Cru of the region St. Amour. This Cru reminds me of Ellen Degeneres as it is the lightest, and let’s face it Ellen’s sense of humour always lightens the mood. The Cru is in the transition area where Beaujolais turns into the Maçonnais (which is another one of Burgundies regions), just like Ellen made the transition from acting to hosting. The wine displays aromas of spiced berries, and has a distinct mineral flavour, making it great with Lamb.
Heading South to the Juliénas Cru. This Cru reminds me of Cate Blanchett as no other Cru holds themselves to a higher overall standard. The region was named after the strong leader Julius Caesar, and Cate’s breakthrough role was as another strong leader Elizabeth. The wine is spicier, and fleshier with a backbone that will keep it going over the years and is a great match for anything straight off the BBQ.
Next up is the Chénas Cru, that can be compared to Leonardo Dicaprio, as Chénas keeps losing land to the top Cru Moulin-å-Vent just like Leo keeps missing his Oscar win despite numerous nominations. The wine may be losing land but the quality level is undeniable just like Leo’s skills. The wine has earthy and floral aromas and has one of the longest lives of the Beaujolais Crus. It can be a great match for Chicken done in a cream and mushroom sauce.
As I mentioned the Moulin-å-Vent Cru is at the top of the pack, so it seems pretty obvious to compare it to Meryl Streep as she is seen as the best. This wine is the most concentrated and flavourful of all the crus, with that much flavour this wine is strong enough to stand up to a grilled steak.
Then comes Fleurie, the Cru that epitomizes the belief that Beaujolais is a joy to swallow. And let’s face it Jennifer Lawrence is one of those people that is a joy to watch on screen or in an interview. She is so likeable, just like a Fleurie. The wine is silky and strong, and with great berry flavour. Match up the silky texture with a Paté or terrine.
After Fleurie comes the prettiest of of the Crus, Chiroubles, both in wine style and in the aesthetics of the village. When I think of pretty actors there are so many that come to mind, it is sort of a prerequisite to the profession. But for this to work I need to pick just one so I’d have to agree with Ellen and say Jared Leto with those big blue eyes really is the prettiest just like Chiroubles. The wine displays floral and fresh red berry notes, that entice and seduce and can be a great accompaniment to Asian Cuisine
Morgon is the densest of the Crus which means it is the thickest and most full bodied, but when the term is used to describe a person it means someone of lesser intelligence. However, I do not wish to make a dig at someone even if it is a famous movie star. I want to compare Morgon to Mathew Mcconaughey not because I think he is dense but because Morgon is a fleshy juicy wine, and even when Matthew is wearing a shirt it seems like he isn’t. There is just something fleshy about him. The wine ages distinctly and consistently much like Matthew’s acting career. The wine has juicy dark cherry flavours to match it’s fleshy texture, which goes great with Duck.
Régnié is the new Cru on the block since it was only bumped up from Beaujolais-Villages level to Cru status in 1988. While most of the others received their Cru status in 1936. You can draw a similarity between newcomer stand out star from 12 Years A Slave Lupita Nyongo. They may be new but the talent is obvious. The wines are soft and forward with redcurrant and raspberry notes perfect with a Swordfish steak.
Coming into the Southern end of the Beaujolais Crus you have Brouilly . It is the largest Cru at 1200ha and therefore it seems only right to compare it to one of the biggest movie starts out there Brad Pitt. The wines from here have notes of blueberries and cherries. Try matching Brouilly with a Chacuterie plate
Finally within the Brouilly area is the Côte de Brouilly Cru. Surrounded by Brouilly vineyards the two must co-exist. Côte de Brouilly wines tend to be more elegant, and floral, the female counterpart to Brouilly. So obvious we compare Côte de Brouilly to Angelina Jolie if Brouilly is Brad Pitt. Pair it with soft cheeses like Camembert or Brie.
You can even take these pairing ideas one step further and match the Cru with the food then add a movie from the compared Actor for a great Friday evening. Happy sipping.
If you’d like to learn more about the Beaujolais Region, its wine, cuisine and even get a few recipes for pairing, visit the excellent Discover Beaujolais website for much, much more!
THE QUICK BITE: Sommelier and Food Travelist Ambassador Lesley Quinn takes us on a fun journey toward understanding the Crus of Beaujolais.