When It Comes to Beaujolais, Forget Nouveau–Go Natural


It would appear as though the Beaujolais people have shot themselves in the foot: after years of promoting Beaujolais Nouveau, they have managed to confuse the American market into thinking Nouveau is the only type of Beaujolais out there. Which is, of course, ridiculous. With ten villages, each producing its own style of Gamay-grape wine, many of which can be aged for years, there is much more to Beaujolais than nouveau.

In fact, we tend to think a much better trend associated with the region is that of the “vin nature” or natural wine movement. A number of the region’s winemakers are passionate proponents of the movement, including its late founder Jules Chauvet and one of its current leaders, Marcel Lapierre. More than just organic or even biodynamic, these wines–the kind praised by such wine writers as Alice Feiring–use naturally occurring yeasts, no chemical additives, and as little technology as possible. We’ve tried several that we’d like to share.

Christophe Pacalet Chiroubles 2006 (on sale for $16 at Cabrini Wines): Fresh, zesty, aromatic cherry-red juice.

Morgon Lapierre 2007 ($27 at Wine Therapy): Deep red color and dark cherry fruit with earthy notes.

Jean-Claude Lapalu Vieilles Vignes Brouilly 2006 (imported by Jenny & Francois, retailing at approx. $20): Dark ruby in color, black fruit and mineral in the mouth.