It’s been a while since my last (wildly popular as ever 😬) wine post, so here is another one – this time on the much malign wine that is Beaujolais.
I always think that Beaujolais (known by many affectionately as Bojo – no connection to Blondie in Number 10) has a slightly bad rap.
Back in the yuppified days of the 80s and 90s Beaujolais Nouveau Day (the brainchild of the late, great George Dubeouf) was a really big thing, with the stuff raced out at break neck speed from the vines to down tbousands of eager punters’ gullets.
Whilst Beaujolais Nouveau Day has slumped in popularity in most of the UK, in Wales it still seems to be celebrated with some gusto.
Personally I have never really understood the seeming affection for such new wine (being fermented for a mere few weeks before being released on the third Thursday of November to the masses – the 18th this year) and this has perhaps tainted my perception of Bojo.
It is, however, not all about Nouveau and the quality and perception as to quality of Bojo (no, not him) has been on the rise for a number of years, with wines from Fleurie, Morgan, Moulin à Vent, Brouilly and Julianas (perhaps the most well known of the crus) leading the way.
Wines from the Bojo crus are very different beasts to those that come over as Nouveau, with a big leap up in quality.
This brings me to the July tasting of the Mystere Wine Club which feature Bojo wines paired with native cheese from the master cheesemongers that are Ty Caws here in Cardiff.
British cheeses with French wines could be argued to be a case of coals to Newcastle, but I am very much of the view that British cheeses can more than hold their own as against those from across Le Marche and Ty Caws has an enviable range of the very best of British cheeses.
As ever the line up offered a very good selection, all from the 2015 vintage which is regarded as a pretty good (if hot – weather wise) vintage in Beaujolais.
So to the wines, with a Brouilly first up.
Wine 1 – Domaine des Coteaux de front Cure, Brouilly
Brouilly wine are generally viewed a bring quite fruit driven, with plums and berries more to the fore than floral notes
Nice rich colour in the glass, with crunchy red fruits on the nose. Just a touch of oakiness on the palate, followed by raspberry. Quite a short finish. Good start and nice with the Cenarth brie from Ty Caws.
Price: Around £10 (good for that price)
Wine 2 – J. Burrier Sant Roche, Chirouble
Chirouche is at the highest altitude of all the Bojo crus and as a result tbe grapes here tend to ripen later than elsewhere in Beaujolais. Here floral rather than fruity notes tend to be more prominent.
Again quite a deep colour for a gamay. On the nose, it was much more floral than the first wine with a touch of red cherry. On the palate it was quite hot/boozy, with just a touch of bubblegum. Not as keen on this as number 1, this felt both under developed and a bit cooked!
Price: Around £10 mark
Wine 3 – JP Thevenet, Morgan
One of the most well known of the Bojo crus, Morgan is one generally recognised for its weight and structure. Wines from here are regarded as being quite mineral in nature.
This wine was showing more age in the colouration than the previous two, with a nice nose that was a touch reminiscent of Black Forest Gateaux once it had opened up (took a while).
On the palate it felt a touch boozy/hot, but there was a nice level of ripe fruit and a pleasing touch of acidity. Not much of the Morgan minerality though.
Would not have tagged this as a Bojo in a blind tasting.
Cheese wise, I particularly enjoyed the Pitchfork cheddar with this.
Price: Around £25 mark.
Wine 4 – J Burrier Beauvernay, Julienas
Another cru that is known for its structure, the signature notes of Julienas wines tends to be ripe red cherries.
Darker colour than number 3, this had quite a kirschy nose. Dark cherries and quite boozy initially on the palate, this gave way to more floral – touch of the parma violets – and medicinal notes (possibly a bit of banana right at the end). Felt quite young in its evolution this wine.
Back to the soft cheeses, with this one pairing well with both the Cenarth brie and golden.
Price: Around the £20 mark
Wine 5 – J Burrier Cote de Burret, Saint Amour
The most Northernly sited of the Bojo crus, St. Amour borders the Macon in Burgundy. Wine from this cru tend to be characterised by rich red fruit notes.
Slightly lighter than number 4 in colour, this had an abundance of sweet cherry on the nose which I quite liked. On the palate, whilst there were still some tannins, it was very refreshing with a nice acidity.
One of my top three wines on the night and a definite step up in class from the previous 4 (not a view universally shared by other members based on the scorings – but no change there with my views often diverving from the majority opinion).
Enjoyed both the soft and hard cheeses with this wine.
Price: Around £20 mark.
Wine 6 – Chateau de Beauregard, Clos des Perrelles, Moulin à Vent
The Moulin à Vent cru is considered to be the sturdiest and most long living of the Bojo crus.
Rich, dark, colour to this wine, which had a really interesting nose.
Whilst there was plenty of fruit (cherry) in the mix, there were lots of tertiary note, with a real earthiness to it which was followed by wood smoke/bonfire and leather.
On the palate there was an abundance of dark ripe fruit, but it also had a nice acidity to it that made it surprisingly refreshing.
Absolutely amazed this was a Bojo. Really good Burgundian quality to it (at a much lower price), with years, left in the tank.
Definitely a Bojo with serious mojo!
Great with the Cornish kern.
Price: £26 (very good for that price).
Wine 7 – Julien Sunier, Morgan
Much lighter and less complex wine that number 6 (in hindsight we should have put it before number 6 in the running order), this had a subtle nose of red cherries.
On the palate there was more dark cherry fruit, but it lacked the complexity of number 6. Just a smidgen, perhaps, of Bojo Bubblegum hoved into view as it lingered. This was a definitely a step down in class from the previous wine to my mind.
Back to the Cenarth brie and golden with this wine. The Yorkshire blue also worked surprisingly well with this wine.
Price: Around £28.50.
Wine 8 – Julian Sunier, Fleurie
Probably the most well known of the Bojo crus, wines from Fleurie are generally characterised by their floral – violet – notes.
Similar lighter colour to number 7 (again in hindsight this would have been better placed in the running order before wine 6), this had a slightly medicinal (parma violet) nose.
On the palate, it was a quite delicate with raspberry and just a hint of cinninon spice. Nice enough if a touch limited.
As with number 7, I enjoyed both the Cenarth cheeses and the bluey with this wine.
Price: £30 (bit pricey I think for what it was).
As mentioned above cheeses came via Ty Caws and what a lovely (and substantial) selection they had put together for us.
The golden Cernarth (cider washed rind, with a mild creamy nuttiness) and the Cenarth brie (mild mushroomy, slightly funky, flavour) both worked well with the lighter numbers in terms of the wines, but the two stars of the show where the two hard cheese in the form of the pitchfork cheddar (big bold cheddar with a serious lactic punch) and the Cornish kern.
The latter had a wonderfully nuttiness to it, which was reminiscent of a really top quality comté. Lovely with the Number 6 – Moulin à Vent – wine, I reckon it would pair perfectly with a palo cortado.
Match made in heaven that.
The Yorkshire blue was also a lovely cheese, creamy with just a tang of bluey acidity. It actually worked quite well with the lighter, fruiter Bojos in the tasting.
Really enjoyed this tasting, which somewhat challenged my pre-existing and seemingly unfounded prejudices in terms of Bojo.
Some really good quality wines, with number 6 the clear stand out for me. Absolutely fabulous wine and worth every penny of the price tag.
My top three where as follow:
- Chateau de Beauregard, Clos des Perrelles, Moulin à Vent
- J Burrier Cote de Burret, Saint Amour
- JP Thevenet, Morgan
The overall vote of club members was broadly the same, but with my second and third place wines switched around.
£30 for these wines and the bountiful, quality, cheeses, was a total bargain if you ask me!
Ty Caws deliver on a local and national basis, with orders via their online shop.
You can also (I believe) pick up from their base of operations at Bridge Street Studios (near Ely Bridge roundabout).
The Mystere Wine Club, having done online tasting for the duration of the pandemic, will (God willing) return to in person tastings in September (with a Priorat tasting led by me) at the Future Inn in Cardiff.
New members are always welcome (feel free to contact me – DM on Twitter or Instagram probably best – details on blog on “About” page). For those interested in joining, the remaining shedule for 2021 is below
I can tell you the 2022 tasting schedule (currently being finalised)
looks an absolute doozy.