Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Exploring Beaujolais: Saint-Amour


Saint-Amour is one of the Beaujolais Crus, in the northern part of the Beaujolais region.  Its wines are made from Gamay grapes and are said to be of medium weight, offering spicy peach flavors.

Domaine des Billards is in the middle of the Saint-Amour cru, owned by the Barber and Teissier families.  The domaine was selling wine in the time of Louis XVI - to the King’s finance minister.  Presumably, he knew where to find the best bang for his franc.  The winery has an old, dusty record book that actually shows his purchases.

The vineyards of Domaine des Billards are composed of sandstone pebbles underneath granite outcroppings, with veins of clay below that.  The land is farmed naturally, with no herbicides used.  The wine gets 12 days of vinification and has an alcohol number at a very Beaujolais-esque 13.5%.  This wine is imported by David Bowler Wine.

This 2009 Beaujolais from Saint-Amour is quite dark - not inky, but almost.  Black plums, dark berries and spice dance over the nose, and I find those notes on the palate, too.  The bouquet reminds me of Christmas baking. Try it for the holidays instead of the lightweight Beaujolais Nouveau.  It’s a fairly weighty wine, one of the heavier Beaujolais I’ve encountered.  That, with a peppery finish and a nice acidity, might put you in mind of a Syrah.