I attended an exclusive tasting of Beaujolais wines paired with items off the BBQ. This event was done in advance of a special promotion that will be out soon at the LCBO, just in time for the upcoming - or finally arrived? - BBQ season. The luncheon was hosted at Acadia Restaurant in Little Italy, with the food items prepared by chef Patrick Kriss. Leading the tasting was head of marketing of Inter Beaujolais - Anthony Collet. The twitter tag for this event was #BeaujolaisBBQ.
We started off the event with a Chardonnay from the region's most widespread appellation - Beaujolais AOC (yes, there is a Beaujolais appellation within the Beaujolais region). Chardonnay makes up less than 1% of all production within Beaujolais (the region), so it was a nice treat to sample something we probably wouldn't get a chance to taste, and a nice starter before getting into 11 straight Gamay Noirs.
CHÂTEAU DES JACQUES BEAUJOLAIS GRAND CLOS DE LOYSE 2010 (#11094399) (XD) - $19.75
Served as an apertif. This Chardonnay has medium-intensity aromas of orchard fruit, citrus and smoke. Lime and citrus on the palate with refreshing acidity. Finish was medium-long. It's available at the SAQ in Québec. Score: 87 pts
Next up were a couple of light, easy-drinking reds to be paired with Creole Shrimp and handpicked Anson Mills Grits. Porridge immediately came to mind when diving into this dish.
GEORGES DUBOEUF BEAUJOLAIS FUN 2009 - (#228155) (XD) - $10.95
This red wine is fruit forward with low- to medium-intensity cran-cherry and strawberry aromas. Bitter cranberry, sour cherry and fruity flavour profile. Good acidity, slightly hot finish. Easy drinking, good BBQ wine. Would probably have been more "fun" last year. Still managed to pair well with the shrimp dish, as grits provided good texture balance. Score: 86 pts
LOUIS JADOT BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES COMBE AUX JACQUES 2011 - (#365924) (D) - $17.95
Medium-intensity strawberry and cranberry aromas. Spice, cranberry and slightly chalky tannins on the palate. Good acidity for pairing with food. Clean and smooth medium-length finish. A bit too big and sweet for the Creole Shrimp. Score: 87 pts
The 2nd course on this lovely afternoon was Piri Piri Chicken Leg with Yogurt that was topped with a Pickled Anaheim Chilly. The piri piri sauce was a lot milder than I am accustomed too, and worked well with a couple of the wines for this pairing.
BOUCHARD AÎNÉ & FILS BEAUJOLAIS SUPÉRIEUR 2011 - (#009431) (XD) - $11.95
Not very aromatic, but shows some sour cherry, strawberry and oak aromas. Spice, cranberry and black fruits on the palate. Good acidity and a lingering finish. Spice from wine paired really well with the mildly-spiced Piri Piri Chicken. My favourite pairing! Score: 86 pts
JACQUES DÉPAGNEUX CÔTE DU PY MORGON 2011 - (#299925) (XD) - $18.95
Low intensity aromas of cherry, strawberry and mild spice. Light- to medium-bodied with pleasant aroma replays. Balanced overall with integrated tannins and a medium-long finish. Could be cellared 1-2 years, but enjoyable now. Tannins and spice were a bit much for the Piri-Piri Chicken. Score: 87+ pts
JOSEPH BURRIER SAINT-AMOUR CÔTE DE BESSET 2009 - (#11154419) (XD) - $25.85
Fresh, ripe cherry, raspberry, strawberry and plum aromas. Spicy red and black fruits on the palate, with some oak showing through as well. Good acidity and quite complex. Good pairing flavour-wise with the Piri-Piri Chicken, but alcohol (14%) shows through on the medium-length finish. Score: 88 pts
Up next was a Grilled Eggplant that was placed on top of a Peanut, Coconut & Curry Condiment that reminded me a lot of a South Asian happy hour snack called chevdo. As we move further along in this tasting, the wines are getting bigger, with more tannins that require more substance in your meal to balance out the tannin. I must say, I was caught off-guard a bit as I had not tasted anything from Beaujolais in many years.
CHÂTEAU DE PIERREUX BROUILLY 2011 - (#005496) (XD) - $18.95
Medium intensity violet and floral aromas. Black fruits, currant and violet flavours, with spice kicking in mid-palate, and finally giving way to dark fruits on the medium-length finish. Good tannins, could reward ageing 1-2 years. Score: 87 pts
VILLA PONCIAGO FLEURIE LA RÉSERVE 2011 - (#299917) (XD) - $21.95
Highly expressive aromas of ripe red fruits, cherry and blueberry. Medium-bodied with chalky tannins, flavour profile consists of blueberries and red currants. Well-balanced with good acidity and a medium-long finish. Delicious. Score: 88+ pts
GEORGES DUBOEUF BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2010 - (#122077) (XD) - $12.95
Aromas are very fruit forward and of medium-high intensity - bing cherry and strawberry come to mind. More red fruits on the soft palate. Medium-level tannins and balanced overall with hints of spice on the finish. Score: 86 pts
The previous flight of wines raised my expectations for this final flight. All 3 wines in this flight were big Gamays, with good acidity, lots of tannin, and could have been opened now or enjoyed in a couple of years. Perhaps it's no surprise given that these 3 wines hail from three neighbouring Cru Beaujolais appellations - Moulin-à-Vent, Chénas, and Juliénas - all of which reside in the northern part of Beaujolias, where the soil is mostly granite. These wines were paired with Korean Short Rib and encrusted with Crispy Rice, Sesame & Chili. Red meat and big wines are a natural pairing.
DOMAINE MANOIR DU CARRA JULIÉNAS 2010 - (#290981) (D) - $19.95
Medium-intensity aromas of oak, blackberry and currant in this red wine. Medium-full bodied with flavours of black fruits, cedar, currant and cinnamon. Mouth-watering acidity and a medium-long finish. Chalky tannins will allow cellaring for 2+ years. This is a big Gamay. Score: 88 pts
DOMAINE DU VISSOUX MOULIN À VENT LES TROIS ROCHES 2010 - (#11154427) (XD) - $24.75
Medium-intensity fruit forward aromas of sour cherry along with some steely notes. Medium-chalky tannins and woody, red fruit flavour palate. Balanced with a medium-length finish. Age-worthy wine - could be cellared 2 years. Score: 88+ pts
DOMAINE PIRON-LAMELOISE CHÉNAS QUARTZ 2009 - (#240481) (XD) - $22.50
Nose seemed rather closed but shows black fruits and violet aromas. Medium-bodied with flavours of red fruits, cranberry and sour cherry. Finish is short-medium in length. Structured, big tannins will reward ageing 1-2 years. Score: 88 pts
And last, but not least, we had a scrumptious dessert. No wine pairing was offered for the Dark Chocolate Ganache with Chantilly Cream & Caramel Popcorn dessert. Might I suggest, if it exists, a Late Harvest Gamay?