As a quick refresher, Beaujolais is a province within
There are three basic quality levels of
Beaujolais -- These wines are produced from grapes grown anywhere within the
Beaujolais-Villages -- These wines are produced from grapes grown in one of thirty-nine villages in the southern part of the region, known to produce consistently high quality wine.
(Do not confuse these classifications with Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is very light, and is meant to be drunk almost immediately after bottling. As a marketing ploy, the third Thursday of November is always the release date. To me, Beaujolais Nouveau is the oenological equivalent of Hallmark's "Sweetest Day.")
Come summertime, I usually have several bottles of Beaujolais-Villages and cru lying around. However, when this season began, I went to the French aisle to stock up and got smacked in the face with an unpleasant surprise.
All of the prices went up -- and not by a little...by a lot. Last year, a bottle of DuBoeuf's Beaujolais-Villages could be had for $6-7. This year, it was $11-12, and the 1.5 liter bottle was $20. When I asked about the price hike, I was given some explanation about shipping costs, exchange rates, and so on. I shook my head, since most of the other wines from around the world (including most French wines) have maybe gone up in price by 5-10%, not 100.
I looked for other light red alternatives. I discovered a pretty good substitute in the J.Lohr 2006 Wildflower Valdiguié. This wine was marketed as Gamay, until it was discovered that Valdiguié is a slightly different grape. But "slightly different" in this case is of the same degree as the difference between Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana. The flavor of this
Then, an amazing thing happened. Apparently, Adam Smith's invisible hand smacked our French winemaker friend in the side of the noggin. The last four wine stores I've walked into have had DuBoeuf's various brands of
The DuBeouf 2006 Beaujolais-Villages was marked down from $12 to $8. It's still very much the pleasant wine that I remembered. The nose was soft mint and cherries, and the flavor is one you can throw down without too much thought. A great wine to break out with dinner or just on a warm summer evening.
The DuBeouf 2006 "La Trinquee" Juliénas had an interesting smoky flavor to go with the richer fruit. There were some solid cherry and blackberry scents and tastes. This one would go really nicely with a grilled chicken dish, especially if you were going to have a side that included a salad with tomatoes. A very nice compliment. ("La Trinquée" is "the clinking glass" -- which is also a nice conversation starter.)
Finally, the DuBeouf Domaine de Grand Croix 2006 Brouilly had dropped from $17 down to a much more respectable $13. The nose of this one is very pretty -- cherries and lavender. The flavor is very well-balanced from an acidity standpoint for
Bottom line, while making a profit is obviously the goal of any winemaker -- pushing too far can lead to trouble...although finding good wine on sale is certainly a thrill for this wine drinker!
Also, this wine writer's going to put things on hold for a bit. I'm off on a muchly needed vacation for a few weeks to recharge the batteries. If you need some other ideas for wines or other general information, please poke around the tasting index and see what you can see.
I'll have some stories when I return...believe me...Stumble It!