Les Granits Bleus is the perfect Beaujolais Villages. Bright, red-fruited, crunchy, ripe with slightly tart acid. Refreshing, mineral, silky at its core. Drinkable like water, but better because it is so tasty. Les Granits Bleus will not improve drastically with time in the bottle. But I would recommend drinking it now or over the next 12 months. I pictured quail or spatchcock at the pairings I’d like while drinking Les Granits Bleus. But it is so smashable, it doesn’t need a food pairing.
Les Granits Bleus
Not a simple Beaujolais Village. This is an organically farmed vineyard with an average age of 50 years. Grown on the granite that is a key quality soil for Beaujolais. It is fermented as whole-bunches with indigenous yeast. Tank ferments and aging allows the retention of all that beautiful fruit.
Domaine de Bel-Air dates back almost 180 years. In 1986 Jean-Marc Lafont and his wife Annick, took over the estate. By 1989 the vineyard work started down the organic path. Their 23 hectares span the great Crus as well as Beaujolais-Villages and Beaujolais Blanc. The wines are thrilling, and they are a pleasure to drink.
Most famous for aromatic, light of body, high acid reds made from the Gamay variety. There is a Burgundian sensibility on Rhone soil types which makes for an interesting style. The quality wines are refreshingly tart with aromatic complexity and enough fruit weight to balance out the tartness. You do have the option of cellaring your quality Beaujolais but often it is not required. The best wines are from the 10 Crus of the region with the lesser appellations being akin to an ocean in more ways than one. Whites from Chardonnay are available but hard to find.
Quality-wise, it sits between Beaujolais AOC and the Cru level wines. It covers 39 villages in the northern part of the region. Approximately one-quarter of production. The terrain of this region is hillier with more schist and granite soil composition than Beaujolais AOC. The wine has the potential to be of higher quality too. Several of the communes in the Beaujolais-Villages AOC also qualify to produce their wines under the Mâconnais and Saint-Véran AOCs.
Grown in the French regions of Beaujolais and Loire Valley. It is early budding, high cropping, aromatic and high acid. It was outlawed from Burgundy by Duke Philippe the Bold for being disloyal. But has no doubt made up for that with honourable service. The best wines from Gamay can be Burgundian in flavour and well worth seeking out. Often they are exceptionally good value too.
The land that some many New World (not European) wine producers look to emulate. To generalise about French wine, I would say it is savoury, lighter-bodied wines. They are the definition of elegant, complex. There are many styles, though. And there is a French wine for every palate. They lead the world in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy. Sparkling Wine in Champagne. Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux. Syrah(Shiraz) and Grenache in the Rhone Valley. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris in Alsace. Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley. Gamay in Beaujolais.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.