Villa Ponciago in Beaujolais.


Over the past decades, North American wine drinkers gradually discovered flavourful, fruity, easy-drinking, and sometimes “frivolous’ Beaujolais.

They complement all kinds of food, are not complicated, and provide gustatory pleasures at a reasonable cost.

The sole grape for red Beaujolais (there is also a white Beaujolais albeit in miniscule quantities) is gamay. This grape yields fine quality on the granitic and crystalline soils in the region tat is part of Burgundy, but produces completely different wines.

Gamay is also planted in Cotes de Beaune but always blended with pinot noir and sold as Bourgogne passe-tout-grain.

Gamay vineyards exists elsewhere in France, and the world but never yield delightful wines as in Beaujolais.

There are three levels of quality – the lowest being Beaujolais, followed by Beaujolais- Villages (may be produced only in 39 villages with the AOC) and cru Beaujolais (Fleury, Moulin-a-Vent, Regnie, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Julienas, St. Amour, Chenas, Chirouble, Morgon).

Fleury wines age best, although other AOC’s of the region are capable of improving for up to four or five years pending on vintage quality.

Romans planted Villa Ponciago’s vineyards and eventually a charitable owner offered the estate to the nearby Abbay de Cluny in 949 A D.

Since Henriot (a Champagne house) bought the property, a decision was made to improve vineyards, replant with better clones, and use the most modern winemaking equipment and technology.

Villa Ponciago produces Beaujolais Village quality wines from the fruit grown on slopes, Fleury Cuvee les Hauts du Py uses the best fruit from selected blocks, and Fleury quality level originates from fruit between top and Beaujolais village quality.

Villa Ponciago’s wines are intense, and offer black currant aromas underlined with violets. On the palate the wine is supple, elegant, refreshing and refined. It goes well with grilled veal, lamb, roast chicken, assorted cured meats, pastas, pizzas, roast pork.

Beaujolais should be served cool 13- 14 C.

Beaujolais nouveau is a young wine produced by carbonic maceration. This technique involves covering whole bunches in enclosed stainless steel tanks and subjecting them to carbon dioxide exposure from the juice of fermenting must underneath.

This causes an intracellular fermentation swelling each berry and rendering the skin translucent. The grapes are then crushed, fermented, and soon after subjected to a malolactic fermentation by incerasing cellar temperature by a few degrees.

This reduces the harsh malic acid to more mellow lactic acid. Nouveau wines are released in the second week of November of the same year of vintage.

They are light, acid driven, and fun to drink, but do not age well (a few months at best).

Other regions in France (Languedoc, Cotes du Rhone) also produce nouveau-style wines.

Italy, and Canada produce `nouveau-style wines as well

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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