I don’t know if it was my recent visit to the Rhone Rangers seminar and tasting or what, but lately I’ve been super into experimenting with French and French-inspired wines. I had such a great experience with Louis Jadot’s 2012 Pinot Noir and, as I was researching more about the vineyard and available wines, became quite curious about their Beaujolais.
As luck would have it, a contact from Louis Jadot was kind enough to provide me with their 2013 Beaujolais to sample and review. I must admit, I held on to this wine, wanting to make sure I enjoyed it thoroughly — with the right food and mood. And I did! Louis Jadot 2013 Beaujolais is yet another excellent example of a regularly available, affordable French wine that tastes like it came straight from the Motherland.
About the Wine: I was actually unfamiliar with this wine varietal until I came across Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais label. Beaujolais is a French wine region that produces predominantly Gamay grapes — which are quite juicy, thin-skinned grapes. Traditionally, winemakers will put the whole-cluster grapes (meaning stems and skins intact) through semi-carbonic maceration, which means they ferment the whole cluster in a cement or stainless steel tank. This is usually done quite quickly (as in a couple of days or weeks at most) to reduce the amount of tannins in the end-product. Louis Jadot takes this a step further, hand-picking the Gamay and de-stemming before primary fermentation. The wine will then go through a secondary, malolactic fermentation to reduce the intensity of the acid produced from the first round.
I’m telling you this because Louis Jadot follows traditional French wine-making methods, and this process truly effects the flavor of the wine.
This wine is made from 100% Gamay grapes from the Beaujolais AOC in France, aged in 50% aged oak barrels and 50% stainless steel, 12.5% ABV
Flavor Profile: Let me first say how beautiful this wine is in the glass. It’s an opaque light red-purple-ish color. If a red wine could be described as “clear,” then this would be that wine. It shimmers like a fresh pool of (wine-colored) water. Next the scent. You know when you walk through the farmer’s market and someone is selling berries so fresh you can smell them across the concourse? This wine emits a strong essence of freshly picked raspberries, red cherries, with maybe the slightest hint of herbs.
The taste is where this wine truly sings. It’s cool and refreshing, again, like a drink of clean spring water. Although those berry notes are strong in the aroma, the flavors of those fruits settle calmly in the background on the palate. Secondary, subtle flavors include a grassy herbaceous-ness, damp, fertile earth, and maybe the slightest hint of white pepper. The acid is quite low to medium — present, but not overbearing. I’d say there’s just enough to add a bit of interest. The tannins are quite low as well and don’t come through until the very end. The finish is long and lingering — those berries, herbs, and the fresh soil will sit on your tongue and tickle your tastebuds for quite some time before the tannins settle in. But there’s nothing heavy or dry about that last little bit. In fact, you’ll find yourself reaching for another glass of this thirst-quenching alternative to water.
Food Pairing: Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais is so light and refreshing, you could easily enjoy this during a warm spring day with a light sandwich or salad. I would highly recommend a vegetarian meal, as the flavors in the wine are so delicate and so enjoyable, you wouldn’t want to overpower them with anything too heavy or dominate. I’d also steer clear of spicy foods, as excessive spice will bring the acid forward and there will be a fight of flavors on your tongue.
I paired my Louis Jadot Beaujolais with a warm herb and heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella cheese and homemade bread.
Alternatively, this Beaujolais could be enjoyed on its own as a night-cap on a warm summer evening. There’s something calm and cooling about this wine. And because it’s not heavy, it’s the perfect wine to sip on before laying down for bed.
More Info: Personally, I was gifted this wine to sample. You can use the wine locator on the Louis Jadot website to find your local distributor. Wine-seracher is another great resource for finding best prices and local retailers. For more information about Louis Jadot and their wines, please do visit their website. You can also read my review of their 2012 Pinot Noir (another winner). I’m most excited to try their Chablis next!
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