Tasting Notes: strawberry/red cherry/forest floor
Any poser can stumble into a wine shop, spend £50 on a bottle and bring home something world-class. In a lot of cases sure, you get what you pay for.
It is however, a bit more of a challenge to spend little over a tenner on a bottle that’s versatile, delicious, and punches well above its weight.
Beaujolais is a region to the South of Burgundy, and is the world’s leading producer of the Gamay grape varietal, a cousin to Pinot Noir. There are only 10 villages awarded the title of Cru de Beaujolais, with Brouilly being the largest and most Southerly.
It’s named after Mount Brouilly, which occupies the landscape, and in turn takes its name from ‘Brulius’, a Roman Lieutenant who was overseeing the area over two centuries ago.
This style of wine is not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau, the first wine release of each year that saw immense popularity in the 1970s and 1980s.
They tend to have youthful and sprightly flavours of banana, bubble-gum, blackberries and kirsch. A very different product indeed from the structured, elegant wines that are produced in the Beaujolais Cru.
When grown on fertile, nutrient-rich soil, Gamay can produce high yields that result in dull, low quality wines. This particular bottle is made from vineyards planted on unforgiving pink schistous granite which controls the yield and concentrates the flavour of the fruit.
The wine is garnet in colour, and has pungent musky aromas of damp earth and fresh strawberries. They carry over to the palate, accompanied by raspberry, cherry, blackberry, and a mushroom/forest floor character, with an aftertaste of ripe juicy peach.
Being a fragrant, light-bodied red, you can opt to serve it slightly chilled. In this instance the wine takes on a freeze-dried forest fruit character that is refreshing, very easy-drinking and perfect for slightly warmer evenings.
With good acidity and soft tannins, it’s a food-friendly wine. Try a bottle with your next Sunday lunch, with Roast Chicken, duck-fat potatoes, and all the trimmings.
Louis Latour’s 2018 Brouilly is available at Costco, priced at £10.18 a bottle at time of writing, or online.
James D O’Leary is a sommelier at L’Ortolan