Tag Archives: Beaujolais

Expensive wine 73: Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Ponci 2013

Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Ponci Wine geeks get teary-eyed at the mention of high-end Beaujolais, and not just because they’re usually the only ones who know about it. Their argument: That Beaujolais that isn’t the $10 stuff that the Baby Boomers grew up on can be as subtle, interesting, and sophisticated as any great wine, and often at half the price.

The catch, of course, is that there isn’t much high-end Beaujolais, called cru Beaujolais, for sale in the U.S. and it’s not so cheap as to be a great deal compared to other great deals, like Rioja. So even if you find one, how do you know if you should buy it if there isn’t a wine geek handy?

Which is where a knowledgeable retailer comes in, like Cody Upton at Pogo’s in Dallas, who sold me the Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Ponci ($32, purchased, 12%) for a BYOB dinner with the Big Guy. Because, given the price and how little I know about high-end Beaujolais, I wouldn’t have bought it. There’s plenty of sparkling, some white Burgundy, lots of quality Rhone and Rioja, and even California red and white at that price that I know and enjoy.

But I trust Cody, and the Poncie, a red wine from France, shows why. It’s not so much that it was delicious, or that the Big Guy marveled at what it tasted like. Rather, it showed that wine geeks can be right, and that just because a wine is made with the sadly unappreciated gamay grape and comes from Beaujolais is no reason to dismiss it. Cody said this is one of the great Beaujolais of the world, and he was right.

Look for a violet sort of aroma, lingering soft berry fruit, and even some earthiness, which I usually don’t associate with Beaujolais. In this, as with all great wine, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and maybe one day I’ll figure out how great wines do that.

Highly recommended, and especially with Mother’s and Father’s Day coming up. Interestingly, it needs food, despite its soft fruit and cushy tannins — almost any roast meat, cheese courses, and even pate.


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Wine of the week: Louis Tete Beaujolais-Villages 2010

Once, if you wanted an inexpensive quality bottle of wine, chances are you bought a Beaujolais. In fact, that was about the only decent cheap red wine ? imported or otherwise ? on most store shelves two decades ago.

Beaujolais, the French wine region just south of Burgundy, has fallen on hard times since then, something you ?ll read about it in the trade press every once in a while. Sales have declined significantly, mostly because Beaujolais drinkers are dying off. The 1990s were a long time ago in the wine business, and Beaujolais was a Baby Boomer wine. And quality, despite assertions from the region, is inconsistent. Some of it is so badly made that it ?s difficult to believe it ?s a 21st century product.

Fortunately, the producer Louis Tete has held up its end. I bought this wine, its basic Beaujolais ($10, purchased), mostly for nostalgia value, not expecting much. But it was Beaujolais the way it should be, with just enough grapey flavor (courtesy of the gamay grape) so that you could tell it was from Beaujolais, but also lots and lots of character. There was acid and freshness, rare for a Beaujolais these days, as well as an earthiness and even some dark fruit.

This is the quintessential porch red wine, perfect for hot summer days (just 12 1/2 percent alcohol), barbecues and Fourth of July picnics. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2013 Hall of Fame.