It’s fair to say that though Mr. Lynch’s company, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, imports some of the best Beaujolais producers in the world, including Jean Foillard and Domaine Lapierre, those wines bear little resemblance to the Beaujolais of old, beyond being made entirely of the gamay grape.
It’s still possible to find refreshing Beaujolais on the simple end, or at least wines that live in that same spirit. Lapierre makes a wine, Raisins Gaulois, that carries the Vin de France appellation but comes from Beaujolais. It’s juicy, fruity and pure, and I imagine it would be deliciously refreshing with blood sausage, tripe and other essentials of cuisine lyonnaise. We included it in our lesson on thirst-quenching wines.
Wines labeled simply “Beaujolais” would also fall into that bright, lip-smacking territory, especially as good producers reclaim this appellation, the lowest category in the Beaujolais hierarchy, underneath Beaujolais-Villages and the Beaujolais crus, 10 appellations judged to have the potential to yield superior gamay grapes.
They are, in order from north to south: St.-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly, a recitation that one reader, Paul Adams of Stony Brook, N.Y., said always felt like a little poem.
Our focus for the last month has been on Fleurie, one of the two most popular and easy-to-find crus in the United States along with Morgon, which we explored in 2018. As always, I suggested three bottles to drink. They were: Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvée Tardive 2019 $29, Domaine Chapel Fleurie Charbonnières Vieilles Vignes 2018 $37 and Jean-Louis Dutraive Fleurie Domaine de la Grand’Cour Clos de la Grand’Cour 2019 $39.
As quite a few readers have pointed out, these are not inexpensive wines, certainly not if they were the sort of jolly, casual bottles for which Beaujolais has long been known.
Let’s be clear: I am not demeaning simple, delicious wines. I revere them and always have a place for them. But cru Beaujolais are not those wines. They offer more to taste and more to think about. Yet they are not solemn wines. Good gamay wines, no matter how they are made or where they come from, always seem to have an intrinsic element of joyousness.