Beaujolais is coming our way


Recently, I received news from Howard Abarbanel that his Abarbanel Beaujolais Villages was returning to the American market with a 2018 vintage.

Made from the gamay grape, Beaujolais wines earned a solid reputation for enhancing meals, and for their “delicacy, freshness, smooth succulence and perfumed immediacy” as wine writer Andrew Jefford put it.

While Beaujolais fell out of fashion in the 1990s due to sloppiness and overproduction of Beaujolais Nouveau, the region’s wines have clawed their way back into the good graces of wine geeks and sommeliers by focusing on terroir and the unvarnished virtues of the
Gamay grape.

At their best, Beaujolais wines are, to quote Jefford again, “poised, fragrant, refreshing and drinkable, yet ballasted with a fine mesh of tannic complexity, too.”

Just 34 miles long and 7-9 miles wide, the Beaujolais region lies in east central France. It is considered part of the Burgundy wine region, but the climate, soils and basic topography are very different. Even more significantly, the wines produced in the Beaujolais area exhibit a regional identity quite distinct from either Rhône or Burgundy.

Beaujolais wines are nearly all representative of a unique style of delicious, fruity, fresh, red wines that have the weight, structure and balance of a white wine. Like most white wines, Beaujolais is best served slightly chilled.

As I’ve noted before, the availability of kosher Beaujolais in the United States is enjoying something of a renaissance.

For years the longest and most consistent source of kosher Beaujolais wines available was from The Abarbanel Brand Wines, produced by Château de la Salle. The last vintage of theirs to hit the United States was the 2012.

The category got its biggest U.S. push when Dovid Riven, the savvy wine manager of the Washington-based JCommerce Group — the parent company of the online kosher wine retail websites and — began bringing in a Beaujolais Nouveau.

Under Riven, the JCommerce Group next took over the import of the Louis Blanc Côte de Brouilly, and then two Louis Blanc Cru Beaujolais wines — the Juliénas and the Moulin-à-Vent. All are lovely wines that I highly recommend.

Abarbanel has now returned the Beaujolais Villages category to the American kosher wine catalog with a real beauty of wine. The new Abarbanel Beaujolais Villages is produced by the
well-regarded Château de Pougelon, in the heart of Beaujolais.

Their Beaujolais Villages vines are “old vines,” from 40 to 98 years old, resulting in distinctive, quality wines. This new Beaujolais should be widely available well before the Passover season begins.

The Abarbanel, Beaujolais Villages, Château de Pougelon, Batch 90, Old Vines, 2018 (price unavailable): Bright crimson with a lustrous deep purple highlights, this delightful wine offers appealing outdoorsy aromas of flowers and red and black summer fruits, leading to yummy flavors of raspberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, cherries, subtle blanched almonds, a little violet, and all with a light strawberry overlay. Well balanced with nice acidity and mild tannins, this can play down as a simple but oh-so-pleasurable quaffer to accompany light meals, picnics, or a pre-dinner cocktail hour, but can just as easily play up to hearty meat meals with just enough felicitous complexity to hold the attention. L’chaim!

Send your wine and spirits questions to Joshua E. London at [email protected].

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