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Beaujolais Crus

Covid has changed the mode of our life. Even though most countries are said to resume normal, we have carried forward some of the new normal.

When most of us were under social distancing, Hopwine, an incredible electronic platform enabling virtual meetings and real wine tastings, was developed to connect wineries and trade people across the globe. It is still operating as it not only eases people’s connection but also effectively saves carbon footprint by reducing travelling.

Today, I got a tasting box from Beaujolais Crus.

For those who don’t know Beaujolais Crus, it is a special designation given to the top wines of Beaujolais, an area of France right the south of Burgundy, known for its light, fruity red wines. The wines of Beaujolais Crus are made from the Gamay grape, which is the same grape used in the production of Beaujolais Nouveau, the freshly made, light and fruity red wine that has become a popular party drink, which has caused much more noise to the market during November every year to celebrate grape harvest. The difference between Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais Crus is the level of quality and complexity that the wines offer.

Gamay grapes. Photo credit: Domaine Lionel Manigand

There are altogether 10 Beaujolais Crus in the hilly northern portion of Beaujolais. The wines can be light and fruity, but they also have an earthy, mineral quality often lacking in the Nouveau wines. Due to their complexity and depth of flavour, Beaujolais Crus wines are often compared to top-quality Burgundies. However, they are often undervalued and under appreciated. Each Beaujolais Cru offers distinctive characteristics, from the light and fruity Fleurie to the rich, intense and complex Moulin-à-Vent. It provides an exciting journey of discovery for wine lovers to explore and compare the different Crus, just as they would for Burgundian villages.

My tasting box contains four samples from 3 Beaujolais Crus. They come from a family with two estates, Château de la Perrière and Domaine Lionel Manigand, managed by the third generation, Franck and Lionel. Being busy with winter pruning at his vineyard in the Brouilly Cru, Franck guided me through tasting his wine via a virtual meeting.

Virtual meeting. Real tasting. Thanks to Hopwine!

Prélude de la Perrière Brouilly 2021

100% whole bunch, semi-carbonic maceration. Aged 9 months in concrete tanks. Bright ruby with a purple hue. Florally aromatic on the nose. Vibrantly fruity on the palate with notes of peony floral and minerality. Refreshing acidity and soft tannin. A pleasant Brouilly.

Les Terres Rouges Brouilly 2021

A two-third whole bunch. Aged 9 months with 80% in concrete and 20% in big oak barrels. Equally floral as Prélude, but with a more intense palate, supple fruits, pleasing tannin and vibrant acidity. Sweet red fruits with balancing subtle oak, layered with floral and slatey minerality. Perfect weight.

Domaine Lionel Manigand Côte à Côte Côte-de-Brouilly 2020

Gamay planted on the blue rocks on the volcanic slopes of Mount Brouilly. 100% whole bunch, semi-carbonic maceration. Aged in concrete tanks. Deep crimson colour. Intense red and black fruits with spicy notes. Powerful but elegant. Need some time to tame the tannins. Long length. Excellent stuff.

Domaine Lionel Manigand Sous le Charme Morgon 2018

Climat “Les Charmes” at 400 m elevation on granite arenas. Partial de-stem. Deep purple. Very fragrant with signs of development. Generous black and red fruits, layered with notes of spices and peony, evolved into mushroom and forest floor. Very silky tannins. Round, complex and long.

I am sure Beaujolais Crus are the best alternative for those who love Burgundy reds! Have I mentioned they are of better value for money?

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