The weather doesn’t have to be hot to enjoy Beaujolais.
Although those of you now in the Southern Hemisphere do have the perfect excuse.
If your introductory glass of this lovely (perhaps the best word to apply to this wine) light red chilled and glinting with splashes of garnet was in the heart of the Beaujolais on a summer’s day you are doubly blessed.
But no matter if your first taste was in your home town, there is something about it you should never forget and it will excite you with memories every time a glass of it comes to hand.
The wine is made almost exclusively from the gamay grape, thin black skinned, low in tannin, with white juice. It is grown just south of the famous string of Burgundy vineyards only in a defined area of granity hills where you begin to feel a touch of the warmer Mediterranean climate sneaking in.
You could describe it as a fruit-first yet dry red.
Much lighter in mouth feel and flavour and naturally lower in alcohol than a shiraz, cabernet, merlot or even a pinot noir it is typically served young and chilled.
There is a race to serve the first carafes of the purple-tinged Beaujolais Nouveau in the cafes of the world on the third Thursday in November, the first day after the September vintage when it may legally be sold.
The first is labelled simply Beaujolais, the lightest and most casual. For slightly more intensity and interest there is Beaujolais Villages, produced from a more limited area of vineyards.
Then come the Grand Cru wines. For many years there were just nine from chosen towns and villages spread around the district, each with their own character.
They are Fleurie, Chiroubles, Chénas, St Amour, Brouilly, Côtes de Brouilly, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent and Morgon.
A tenth, Regnié, was added in 1988.
Although they are all comparatively ‘light’ wines the Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon from a good vintage can age over the years to resemble a decent Burgundy.
You could spend years studying these wines but it is better to just sit back and let your senses take over. Truly one of the world’s delightful wine experiences.
OK, if you insist, you can learn more at www.discoverbeaujolais.com