The 30 Second Wine Advisor

Vol. 1, No. 21, June 7, 1999
© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

30 Second Wine Tasting Tip:
The other side of Beaujolais
As May simmers into June, we're just about as far around the calendar as we can get from Nouveau Beaujolais, the "new wine" of Beaujolais that's rushed from the vineyards in late November to offer waiting wine lovers the first taste of the new vintage.

As far as I'm concerned, that makes this a perfect time to take a taste of the other end of the regional spectrum, the so-called "Cru" wines of Beaujolais. Cru is one of those French wine terms that's both hard to translate and surprisingly hard for English-speaking tongues to utter for a word of only three letters. (Say "crew" and you'll be in the ballpark, although nobody will mistake you for a Frenchman.) Literally it means "growth," but in winespeak it usually refers to a specific vineyard, often regarded as being of exceptional quality.

That's just the case in Beaujolais, where 10 specific "crus" are so well-regarded that the wines they make are sold under their own names. You'll find the word "Beaujolais" nowhere on the label, although they proudly assert the legal right to declare themselves "Red Burgundy Wine," despite being made of Beaujolais' Gamay grape rather than Burgundy's Pinot Noir.

Look for these 10 "Cru" names -- Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Régnié and Saint-Amour -- and be prepared for a delicious wine-tasting treat. Like the Nouveau and the simpler Beaujolais, "Crus" share the region's style of ripe, soft, and immensely fruity wines for which the French have the lusty term "gouleyant" ("gulpable"); but they add a level of structure, complexity and balance that you rarely find in the simpler wines. It's even possible to "cellar" these wines for a few years, under good storage conditions, but I find it hard to keep my hands off them when they're young and fresh. Finally, if the summer sun is blazing out of doors, there's no shame in placing your "Cru" in the refrigerator long enough to give it a slight, refreshing chill.

If you've got a favorite Beaujolais or a tale to tell about the wine or the region, please write me at and tell me about it. And, as always, don't hesitate to drop us a line if you'd like to comment on our topics and tasting notes, suggest a topic for a future bulletin, or just talk about wine.

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30 Second Tasting Notes
A classic "Cru" Beaujolais
Domaine du Monnet Louis Jadot 1997 Domaine du Monnet Brouilly ($11.99)
Dark garnet, with delicious blueberry and raspberry aromas. Very ripe and juicy fruit flavor, the "bowl-of-fruit" quality that makes the better Beaujolais so delicious, with the good, firm structure that crisp acidity brings. A first-rate wine, harmonious and balanced, and it's delicious lightly chilled on a simmering summer evening. U.S. importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (June 4, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Hits the spot with an aromatic but not overly fiery bowl of Szechwan-style spicy beef noodles.

Wine Lovers' Voting Booth
Many thanks to all of you who took part in our "Voting Booth" feature on corkscrews on The Wine Lovers' Page. With a record 414 votes, the traditional waiter's corkscrew earned a healthy plurality with 25 percent of the vote, trailed by the pocket "ScrewPull" (18%) and the two-winged corkscrew (17%). For full results, see our Voting Booth Archives.

This week's survey focuses on the ways that wine lovers use the Internet to shop for wine. Please drop by our Voting Booth and let us know where you stand.

30 Second Wine Link
Two good buddies who write about wine for The Boston Phoenix -- Thor Iverson and David Marglin -- have very different styles, but I enjoy them both. You'll find their columns at

30 Second Advertising Partner
I've had a long association with CompuServe. Despite its sale last year to America Online, AOL appears committed to keeping CompuServe as a separate service aimed at an upscale market oriented towards business and technology. For those who prefer the organized environment of a commercial service at competitive rates, CompuServe is worth a look.


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