For today's tasting, let's open a wine made from the Gamay grape, the featured variety in this month's "Wine Focus
" topic on our WineLovers Discussion Group. Brouilly is one of the dozen or so villages within the Beaujolais region that are entitled to bear the name of the village on the label in preference to the more generic "Beaujolais," and Chateau de la Chaize is a long-term performer. This vintage, a return to more traditional form after the powerful and overripe 2003s, shows the good, refined berry fruit that typifies Gamay, along with pleasant toasty-earthy minerality that's a hallmark of Brouilly.
<table border="0" align="right" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/chai0806.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Chateau de la Chaize 2004 Brouilly ($15.59)
This Gamay from Brouilly, one of the named Beaujolais "<I>Cru</I>" villages, comes in a squat, rather medieval looking bottle. Light strawberry aromas add a distinct whiff of toasted white bread. Fruit is more forward on the palate, juicy red berries and a squirt of lemon, and the toasty aromas segue into a plesant earthy minerality to add flavor interest. U.S. importer: Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, NYC. (Aug. 6, 2006)
<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> An offbeat match, curried summer squash soup, is just okay at first, palatable but not compelling, but the combination suddenly draws a gasp of pleasure when a sip of wine taken after a swallow of soup bursts on the palate like a perfect ripe strawberry.
<B>VALUE:</B> Shop around, as the local retail price I paid is very close to the high end of its range; it's available at some vendors for $10, at which price it's a much better buy.
<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> Even with the village <I>Crus</I>, there's never any harm in drinking Beaujolais young and fresh; if you want to try cellaring it, I wouldn't hold it much past five years post-vintage.
<b>Chateau de la Chaize</b> = "<i>Sha-toe duh lah shahz</i>"
<b>Brouilly</b> = "<i>Brool-yee</i>"
Here's a link to the importer's fact sheet about Chateau de la Chaize
. You'll have to endure a quiz about your age before the site will let you in.
<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B>
Find vendors and check prices for Chateau de la Chaize Brouilly on Wine-Searcher.com