Thursday, January 19, 2012

EXPLORING BEAUJOLAIS: CHIROUBLES


Beaujolais Chiroubles Damien Coquelet 2010

The French wine region of Beaujolais has been the topic of a number of Now And Zin  posts this year.  During the holidays, I received a number of different Beaujolais wines to sample, and the experience has been illuminating.  I sample hundreds of California wines - and wine from all over the US - each year, but Beaujolais was one of the areas I had failed to explore properly until now.

After trying several wines from a few of the Beaujolais crus, I'm happy I've had the chance to delve into the region.  Today's wine comes from Chiroubles, a cru with some of the highest altitude vineyards in Beaujolais.  The climate is a bit cooler and the growing season somewhat longer as a result.  Wines from this region are said to be distinguished by their delicate, softly perfumed bouquets. 

This wine is the D. Coquelet 2010, imported by Louis Dressner.  Damien Coquelet is the winemaker.  A (very) little detective work shows him to be the stepson of George Descombes, one of the top growers in Beaujolais. This wine appears to come from his vineyard n Chiroubles, although Damien has plans to purchase vineyards of his own at some point.  One big distinction between the wines of Descombes and Coquelet is that the elder ages his wines a year, while the younger releases his early. 

The wine has an alcohol content of the more-or-less standard number for Beaujolais, 12.5% abv.  It shows a medium tint in the glass.  The nose is marked by raspberry and a bit of candy.  As advertised, very delicate floral notes surround the fruit.  Flavors of cherry, cranberry and a trace of cassis join a very nice acidity to make a wine that drinks like a light, slightly tart Pinot Noir.  It's really a beautiful effort. 

I see this wine selling online for $17 to $25 - worth it at the high end and a definite bargain at the low price.