I Love French Wine and Food - A White Beaujolais
If you are looking for fine French wine and food, consider the Beaujolais region of southeastern France. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local white Beaujolais wine.
Among France’s eleven wine-growing regions Beaujolais perhaps surprisingly ranks number eight in total acreage devoted to the grape. However, it is one of the best-known wine regions to a large degree because of the enormously successful Beaujolais Nouveau marketing campaign. I review Beaujolais Nouveau wine in a companion article in this series.
Beaujolais wine is usually, but not always, red. Beaujolais white wine comes from a variety of grapes including Chardonnay as in the wine reviewed below, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Aligoté.
There are no cities in the entire region so tourists will have to be satisfied with the 14 mile (23 kilometer) Beaujolais wine route and its villages. Most of them are. This wine route is home to nine of the Beaujolais grands crus including Chiroubles, reviewed in a companion article.
Not far from the wine route is Villars-les-Dombes (population four thousand) with an excellent bird sanctuary, including four hundred species of birds. Continue south to the medieval walled town of Pérouges (population about one thousand) on a hilltop. This town was the setting for the movie The Three Musketeers.
Before reviewing the Beaujolais wine and imported cheeses that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region. Start with Cuisses de Grenouilles (Frogs Legs). For your second course savor Quenelles de Brochet (Poached Fish Dumplings). And as dessert indulge yourself with Galettes de Pérouges (Pérouges Pancakes).
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Wine Reviewed Pisse-Dru Beaujolais Blanc 2004 12.9% alcohol about $10.00
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. The name “Pisse-Dru” comes from an amusing French vintners expression: when an old vigneron says with a smile of satisfaction on his face, “ça pisse dru”, it means that the vintage he has just tasted is to his liking and that the fresh juice of the grape will grow into a perfect and delicious bottle of wine.
Yellow-green color with hints of gold. Fine and fruity on the nose, this wine shows aromas of quince and small yellow plum with some floral nuances. A very pleasant wine with a long finish. Serve chilled with hors d’oeuvres, grilled seafood, cold-cuts, poultry with light cream sauce and cold pasta salads. And now for the review.My first meal consisted of barbecued chicken with potatoes cooked in chicken fat and green beans in tomato sauce. The wine had a nice tingling taste and was refreshingly acidic. It really cut the grease of this quite greasy meal.
My next pairing was with a commercial chicken pot pie perked up by a Chinese hot sauce. This Beaujolais Blanc was once again refreshingly acidic, light and fruity. But it was fairly short and overpowered by a hot sauce that wasn’t very hot. The wine had no such problem with poppy seed cake.
My final meal was an omelet with brown mushrooms, local provolone cheese, and the fixings. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed that the wine was quite light when paired with a mild-tasting omelet.
I next tried this wine with an Italian Bel Paese, a mild buttery cheese that people suggest to accompany fruity wines or to be eaten alone as a snack or a dessert. This pairing was a relative success; the cheese seemed to soften the wine’s acid and bring out its fruit.
My last tasting was with a French Saint-Aubin, a soft cow’s milk cheese traditionally packed in a wooden box. This cheese has a creamy brie-like texture and a stronger taste. The cheese was a little strong for the wine.
Final verdict. Like most people I know, I have a limited budget. This wine was fine for the price. It doesn’t go well with everything, most wines don’t. But it goes very well with food that I really like (barbecued chicken and greasy potatoes), and I am planning to buy it again.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites are www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.theitalianwineconnection.com