If you think Beaujolais is always a red wine, you're not really outing yourself as a wine-geek newbie, as only about 20 percent of the wines of the region are Chardonnay- or Aligote-based whites
Gamay-based reds are the bread and butter of this prolific wine region south of Burgundy, and they make up a hearty share of the everyday table wine gulped by gastronomes in the nearby food-and-drink-loving city of Lyon, which some call France's second culinary city after Paris.
Beaujolais reds can range in color from a dark red-berry hue right down to a lighter shade of crimson; but pink Beaujolais is a wine of an entirely different color, so unusual that only a handful of producers make it.
Which is all by way of introducing us to today's featured wine, the 2011 "Les Griottes" Beaujolais Rosé from Domaine de Vissoux, which I picked up for $14.99 recently at my local Whole Foods
wine shop. On the winery website
, wine makers Martine and Pierre-Marie Chermette declare that this rosé is "recommended for the hottest days of the year!"
This wasn't an invitation easy to resist on a recent late-spring afternoon when the temperature hovered over 90F with humidity to match, and as it turns out, the Chermettes weren't just fooling around. Crisp, fresh and bone-dry, with subtle wild-strawberry aromas and flavors given additional subtlety by whiffs of fresh herbs and lime, it's a compelling wine for summer sipping and a versatile partner with a wide bill of fare.
The Chermettes, billed as pioneers of sustainable viticulture in the Beaujolais, discuss their wine-growing and wine-making philosophy on this Web page, The art of making wine that reveals the grape
. They've been making a rosé Beaujolais since 1985, and appear to be one of the first among this small but growing niche. Domaine de Vissoux 2011 "Les Griottes" Beaujolais Rosé ($14.99)
Transparent pale pink-rose color. Good, subtle scents of wild raspberries and fresh tarragon. Bone-dry, fresh and subtle red-fruit and herbal flavors follow the nose with crisp acidity and gentle 12% alcohol content; finishing with light red-berry flavors, a whiff of fresh herbs and a hint of lime zest, tart and clean. U.S. importer: Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, Pa. (May 30, 2012)FOOD MATCH:
This crisp, refreshing rosé is versatile with food. The winery suggests serving it with appetizers, salads, grilled meats, barbecue, seafood, savory pastries, fish and fish terrine and, it says, "ideal with Exotic cuisines including West Indian and Asian." I took them up on that idea with a spicy Ethiopian kale stew, Gomen Wat
, and was delighted with the pairing.WHEN TO DRINK:
This fresh and youthful delight is going to be best while it's young. I'd plan to drink the 2011 this summer and look for the 2012 next year.VALUE:
This local price, right on the $15 national median reported on Wine-Searcher.com
, is more than fair for this delicious rosé.PRONUNCIATION:Les Griottes
= "Lay Gree-oat
The winery website is published in French, English, Russian and Chinese. Here's a link to the English-language fact sheet on "Les Griottes" Beaujolais Rosé
.FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
I picked up this bottle from the "eco-friendly" shelf at the Whole Foods wine shop
in Louisville, and would suggest checking this source first if you have a Whole Foods in your community.
Also, locate U.S. and international vendors and check prices for "Les Griottes" Beaujolais Rosé on Wine-Searcher.com