Don’t let Beaujolais Nouveau steal the November Beaujolais thunder! The Beaujolais Crus are some of the best wines for fall and the holidays.
My love affair with Beaujolais goes back over a decade. When I first studied abroad in France, I distinctly remember finding a bottle of Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais-Villages on the shelf of a local wine shop. I brought it over to a friend’s homestay for dinner and it was an instant hit. We fell head over heels for Beaujolais that night and never stopped exploring the region. My favorite Beaujolais these days is usually a solid cru – and while that’s a couple steps beyond the usual Beaujolais-Villages, it still makes me think of those first weeks in Paris during study abroad.
Here are some of the crus I’m reaching for lately. Whether to relive a bit of that study abroad nostalgia or to pair with any cozy fall dish, these wines will not disappoint!
Morgon Côte du Py, Chauvet Frères – $22 – Saratoga Wine
Thanks to its global explosion in popularity, it’s often hard to find Morgon for a decent price point. I could go for a Lapierre Morgon any day of the week – but my wallet certainly can’t! If you are looking for a solid Morgon but aren’t in the mood to spend $50 a bottle, this one from Chauvet Frères is sure to do the trick. It has everything you want in a good Morgon: structure, medium body, and balance between both dark fruit and earthy notes. The perfect Morgon for the $20 price range!
Saint-Amour, Domaine des Billards – $24 – Wine.com
Saint-Amour: it’s not just for Valentine’s Day (although that of course is when this tiny appellation sells most of its stock)! If you’re someone who can’t get enough of Burgundy and crave a cooler climate, Saint-Amour is the place to go. It is the most northerly of the Beaujolais cru, only a few kilometers from this region’s Burgundian border. Soft, romantic, and elegantly balanced between dark cherry and lavender aromas, this is a fabulous wine to open for date night in.
Fleurie, Clos de la Roilette – $20 – Empire Wine
Talk about a crowd-pleasing wine! This Fleurie is the one you want to bring to a Friendsgiving, cocktail hour, or holiday get together. I’ve personally brought it to a wide variety of gatherings and every time I do, everyone comments, “Wow, what is this wine?! Where can I get it?!” And for $20, it’s a hell of a steal. If you love a complex Beaujolais – but also want one that doesn’t take itself too seriously – don’t think twice about buying this one. I love the exquisite balance between earthiness & dark berries and herbal notes & cherries. Truly a cru I’ll always have stocked.
Régnié, Prunelle de Navacelle – $36 – Madame Claude
I stumbled into my local (currently under construction and no longer carrying this one – sadly!) wine shop and came home with this stunner on a Sunday afternoon. It turned out to be one of the best wine buys of my entire year! At first glance, this wine checks all the boxes: organic, biodynamic, minimal intervention in the cellar AND made by an enterprising woman winemaker? I was sold to at least give it a try. The wine, as expected, is a stunner. Beautiful soft fruit notes of raspberry and plum coat the palate, followed by mineral blue stone and a hint of local florals. I only wish it were easier to find (so if you’re an importer reading this, I hope you give Prunelle’s wines a try!).
Moulin-à-Vent, Château du Moulin-à-Vent – $37 – Rye Brooke Wine & Spirits
Don’t think the crus from this region can stand up to the power of neighboring Burgundy or Bordeaux? Try this wine and think again. Château du Moulin-à-Vent brings some serious substance to the table. Bold and structured, it’s is bursting with violet and dark raspberry notes, with tannin and added complexity from oak aging. If you’re someone that’s skeptical of Beaujolais cru’s power, this Moulin-à-Vent is definitely one you’ll want to try.
Fleurie, “Avalanche de Printemps”, Marc Delienne – $34 – Williston Park Wine & Spirits
Marc Delienne is quickly becoming a household name among wine-lovers. A newcomer to Beaujolais, he joins the ranks of some of the region’s most revered organic and biodynamic winemakers after spending decades working in tech in Paris. Marc is living the dream (or at least… my dream!) and the quality of his wines speaks for itself. This is a beautiful natural Beaujolais that explodes with wild strawberry and even orange notes. An absolute beauty that’s worth trying no matter the season.
Saint-Amour, Patrick Tranchand – $15 – K&L Wine Merchants
Cru Beaujolais for under $20?! No, you’re not dreaming, and this Saint-Amour isn’t kidding around on quality. Incredibly quaffable, this pretty little wine packs a punch at an attainable price point. Think blueberry preserves, herbs, notes of violets and of course, stunning minerality. This wine just proves that you should never overlook the small producers!
Happy Beaujolais Cru season! Hope you enjoy these picks and that you leave this post inspired to try different producers, appellations, and winemaking techniques that might be a little bit outside your comfort zone. Until next time, santé!