Saturday, October 8, 2016

Chateau de Jarnioux Beaujolais

This is a particularly nice little bottle of Beaujolais that starts off with strawberry and candy on the nose.  It is refreshingly soft, smooth, and round in the mouth with juicy red and blackberry flavors replete with pepper and spice notes all of which seems more forward than one might expect from this kind of wine.  Even its finish seems forward while still moderately long, much like the flavors on the palate, a both/and meeting of new and old world styles.  The color of the wine is an intense ruby red.

Maison Albert Bichot is the producer of this little gem and they advertise a partnership of winemakers in their employ which one would think should include their vineyard workers.  They not only maintain a palissage canopy season long but also hand harvest the grapes prior to vinification beaujolais, the carbonic maceration which precedes the regular alcoholic fermentation.  In this "beaujolais process" the grapes (still in bunches) are dropped into fermentation tanks without yeast or pressing allowing the weight of the grapes to crush those on the bottom releasing CO2 from the natural yeasts on the grape skins.  This "intracellular soak" creates more fruity flavors before the ten day traditional alcoholic fermentation which gives the wine its color, structure, and alcohol.  All of the above attributes are then enhanced by months of aging in both steel and oak barrels; the steel reinforcing the fresh fruitiness, the oak adding to the structure and spicy complexity.

The wine label's cover art depicts a castle which is the Church of St-Martin in the Village of Jarnioux in the middle of the Beaujolais region.  The village actually lies within the smaller Beaujolais Villages district but since this wine is just designated as Beaujolais, some fruit is sourced from outside of the esteemed area.  The church is a good story though.  It was first built in 889AD but has been restored and added on to in the 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 18th centuries.  It is a spectacular yellow-ish edifice, complete with fortifications, grand staircase and dungeons, constructed using local limestone that is tinted with iron oxide.

On Thursday November 17th we will be featuring the first new vintage of the year, the 2016 Nouveau Beaujolais.  This is a light fruity red that serves as an indicator for the overall quality of the Burgundy vintage.  If the Nouveau is good then get ready to open your pocketbook when the great Burgundies are released.

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