Friday, April 22, 2011

Nestling Up to Another Beaujolais, Courtesy of Louis Jadot

Last Friday night I became acquainted with the 2009 Joseph Drouhin Morgon, a sublime bottle of gamay at the ridiculously-cheap price of $13. It was recommended by my friend David, during a discussion of the merits of the 2009 vintage in Beaujolais. Critics feel that the '09 vintage is superb, producing wines with a balance of ripe intensity and clean acidity. Traditionalists lament the ripeness, wishing for a return to the austerity and "purity" (as they call it) of previous, less heralded vintages. It doesn't hurt that Beaujolais is enjoying a moment of glory amongst the sommeliers, bloggerati/Twitterati, and wine geek crowd.

You may ask, and rightly so, why there's a "villages" on the end of the Beaujolais. That is a differentiator meant to indicate a higher level of quality, mainly in the vineyard. In this instance, Louis Jadot makes a huge amount of wine from Burgundy and Beaujolais, including a "regular" Beaujolais bottling and this Beaujolais-Villages bottling. Here's to hoping I get to taste more wines from this wonderful producer.

The color is beautiful, a deep rich purple like you'd see in some medieval tapestry hanging in a 700 year old French church. It isn't opaque, I can see through to the bottom of my glass yet that just manages to work for this wine. Since I'm new to actually evaluating wines from Beaujolais, I keep finding myself making the comparison to Burgundy, which is erroneous because the varietals are different beasts entirely. What I'm trying to say is that I like the color, it appeals to me on some level beyond just the topical "oh how pretty" aspect.

If you can imagine taking fresh, ripe plums and mashing them in a bowl then tossing in some river rocks and baking spices, that's what this wine smells like. I can also get a whiff of oak, but it's very integrated. Monsieur Lardiere, the winemaker for Louis Jadot, aged it for about ten months in French oak barrels. Nice bit of a floral component, but flowers with dark petals, like violets. I like this Beaujolais, the nose is appealing in a way that makes the wine seem alive, inviting but also something else. This isn't a big, bombastic assault on your nostrils like you'd get in an Australian shiraz or California cabernet. Right now the word I keep thinking of is "alluring" but that seems overplayed. Seductive adds too much of a sexual connotation to the wine, this Louis Jadot isn't seductive. If I could just figure out what to call that quality. Je ne sais pas!

What a contrast from the 2009 Drouhin! Way more minerality here, in a sense more austere. You have to fight with the gravel and oak to find any kind of fruit. When the wine finally gives up the fruit, it's again a plummy, black currant kind of flavor. I don't mean to suggest the flavors are under-ripe, merely that they're harder to discern. The acidity here is a bit less focused than my last Beaujolais, I get the sense of it being somewhat spread out and not as linear but nevertheless it remains very potent and definitely grabbed my attention.

Overall, the 2009 Jadot is good stuff, a lot of fun to drink and explore. I think perhaps it is veering towards the wine-geek side versus the casual drinker side though. Maybe another six months to one year in the bottle will allow some of the more potent minerality elements to recede, allowing that lovely fruit and floral to shine through. Since Easter is approaching, a great pairing would be a rack of lamb that's been baked with lots of herbs. Alternatively, some prefer ham with Easter meals but I'd caution against a honey baked ham, the pairing doesn't seem like it would taste good at all.

For a suggested retail price of $13, and a real-world retail for as little as $9, this is a QPR winner and a wine you should pick up as a way to explore outside the typical "new world style" wines you might drink. I highly recommend it, giving a B and a STRONG BUY recommendation. While that may cause wine geeks and wine experts to scoff a little bit, they would be well served to remember that we all must start liking wine at square one, and our journey takes different paths for each individual. To experience a great sense of terroir balanced with a winemaker's talents at a reasonable price, this is something you should buy. Where can you find the Louis Jadot wines? Everywhere! They're imported by Kobrand and distributed across the country. Try your local Beverages & More or supermarket.

This wine was received as a sample for review purposes from Kobrand

Beau Carufel


  1. Thanks for reviewing this. I keep thinking I need to check in with their other entry level bottles from time to time, because the price points are really there for QPR if I like it. The good distribution makes it easy to recommend to non wine nerd friends too.

  2. This is a damned tasty bottle of wine, considering it's priced reasonably well. Something I've been working on lately is factoring in the distribution of the wine..Not necessarily to determine score but more to just bring to the attention of my readers. Luckily the Louis Jadot wines are all over the place and this one is easy to find.