Friday, July 22, 2011

Domaine Pignard Beaujolais (2009)

When one thinks of the French region or department of Burgundy, the first wine that comes to mind is the wine that shares that name.  There is more to Burgundy than, well, Burgundy.  

For example, growers cultivate Gamay grapes (which are also known as Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc), which winemakers use to produce Beaujolais.  The name originates from the historical region of Beaujolais, which was located north of Lyon, France, straddling the Rhône and Saône-et-Loire départments.  The grape vines in this region were first planted by the Romans, who planted the vines along trade routs that followed the Saône valley.  During medieval times, it was the Benedictine monks who grew the grapes and produced the wines in this region.  Wine production continued over the centuries, but the wines were generally confined to the region.  It was not until the railroads came that distribution of the wines became more widespread. 

Today, Beaujolais has its own Appellation d’origine contrôlée ("AOC").  This AOC covers all of the Beaujolais villages.  The rules of the AOC provide that the wine must be at least 9% in alcohol.  Wines that have 10% or more in alcohol are referred to as Beaujolais Supérieur.  Beaujolais wines are produced using only the Gamay grapes, a varietal that grows well in the alkaline soils of the region.

Domaine Pignard was founded in 1953 by Marcel Pignard near the town of Arnas Villefranche.  The wine pours a deep crimson red with purplish hues.  The aromatic elements of this wine feature bright fruit, like raspberries and cherries, with just a little bit of spice.  The flavors of this wine follow the aromas.  Raspberries, cherries and other red berries.  The body of the wine is very light, which is due to the characteristic lack of tannins in the Gamay grape. I think that the light body of this wine affects the finish.  Most of the fruit was in the front of the wine, leaving little of the raspberry and cherry flavors for the finish.  Still, this wine is easy and enjoyable to drink; and, before you know it, the wine is gone. 

I found this wine at Corridor Wine & Spirits for $9.99 a bottle.  It is a cost-efficient and good introduction to Beaujolais wines.  Based upon this wine, I definitely want to try more Beaujolais wines, perhaps a Beaujolais Cru.  But that will have to wait for a future post.  


For more about Beaujolais wine, check out Wikipedia.

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