Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Beaujolais, But Hardly Nouveau

I've seen a few references lately that announced the arrival of this year's Beaujolais Nouveau.  I'll admit that maybe I fell prey to the hype back in the 80's, but I can count the bottles of Nouveau that I've tried recently on the fingers of one hand.

That doesn't mean that I have to avoid the name "Beaujolais" altogether though - and I figured we could celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau's arrival with a Beaujolais of a different sort.

1289.  2010 Villa Ponciago - La Réserve Fleurie (Fleurie AOC - France)

I tasted this Cru Beaujolais at this year's Vancouver International Wine Festival and, out of the 800+ wines that were being poured at the Festival Tasting Room, this one impressed enough for me to grab a bottle.  When there's that many wines being poured at an event though, I can't always be positive that I'm going to like the wines as much in saner situations.  So, I'm always happy - and relieved - when the wine is just as enjoyable at home as I must have thought it was at the Festival.

Villa Ponciago was actually known as Chateau Poncié when it was purchased in 2008 by the Henriot family - owners of well known Burgundy labels Bouchard Père et Fils and William Fèvre.  Villa Ponciago harkens back to the historical roots of the domaine, some 1,000 years ago, when the property was known by that name and was given to a local abbaye due to its renown for the quality of its wines.  The Henriot family has announced its intention to restore the property to its former acclaim.

I know nothing of that former acclaim but I think the family is doing something right if this current release is any indication of the wines they strive to produce.  There are ten crus (or appellations/regions) in Beaujolais and they differ in character from light bodied through full bodied; however, all the regions make their red wines from the Gamay Noir grape (although, technically, the AOC regulations will allow up to 15% of the appellation wine to consist of white wine but this in't that common in practice).

Fleurie is generally considered to fall in the middle in terms of wine style - and, for a Gamay, this wine certainly had a nice medium body with plenty of red fruit on the palate and a brace of acidity coming through, along with some soft tannins.

I've started looking for more of the Gamay Noirs that come out of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys as they are really starting to come into their own.  This Ponciago wine is a nice example of where those BC wineries might look to for comparison.

No comments:

Post a Comment