★★★Exceptional ★★Excellent ★Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
The fun in exploring cru Beaujolais lies in looking first for small importers that represent family wineries. Once you find one you like, try different wines from various appellations within Beaujolais. These recommendations are starting points, but if you can’t find a particular wine, look for another from the same producer or importer, including another vintage.
Domaine Pral Morgon Les Charmes 2010
★★1 / 2
Beaujolais, France, $22
This wine is delightfully lively with cherry, raspberry and smoke, like a cold autumn evening. It is still quite young and lean, and it might flesh out with a few more months in bottle. But it is lithe and enticing right now.
Robins Cellars: Available in Virginia at Vienna Vintner.
Daniel Bouland Chiroubles 2010
★1 / 2
Beaujolais, France, $24
It twists and turns across the palate with cherries, mushrooms, a hint of smoke from the air and a mineral grip from the soil.
Weygandt-Metzler: Exclusive to Weygandt Wines in the District.
Manoir du Carra Fleurie 2009
Beaujolais, France, $25
From a producer with 50 vineyard plots throughout Beaujolais, this Fleurie is produced from fruit grown on vines averaging 50 years of age. It offers a nice hint of smoke and mineral, with a seductive velvety texture and impressive finish.
Kysela: On the list in the District at Mid-Town Cafe. Available in Maryland at Graul’s Wine & Spirits and the Old Vine in Baltimore; Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis; Montgomery Plaza Liquors in Catonsville. Available in Virginia at Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet in Charlottesville, Unwined in Alexandria.
Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes Cote de Brouilly Cuvee des Ambassades 2010
Beaujolais, France, $21
This has a bit more structure and heft than many cru Beaujolais, which is in part a characteristic of Cote de Brouilly. The balance of fruit, earth and sky (that hint of autum smoke) is impeccable.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Wagshal’s Market; on the list at Eola, Le Chat Noir. Available in Maryland at the Wine Source in Baltimore, the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Shop at National Harbor; on the list at Black’s in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at J’s Gourmet in Front Royal.
Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin a Vent Vieilles Vignes 2009
Beaujolais, France, $25
Lively and delicate, it has nice floral notes and an enticing, lingering finish. This producer also makes two single-vineyard wines from Moulin-a-Vent that are worth exploring.
J.W. Sieg: Available in Virginia at Unwined in Belleview, Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; on the list at Brabo in Alexandria, Ray’s: The Steaks in Arlington.
Domaine Pascal Aufranc Chenas Vieilles Vignes 2008
Beaujolais, France, $15
Both the 2008 and 2009 are available in the Washington market right now, and they provide an excellent chance to compare vintage variation. The 2008 is light and true to the Beaujolais type, while the 2009 is riper and bigger in texture and flavor. My preference is for the 2008, but there’s enough 2009 to go around for those who disagree.
Wine Traditions: Available in the District at Ace Beverage (2009), A.M. Wine Shoppe, Cork Market, D’Vines, MacArthur Beverages, P&C Market; on the list at Cashion’s Eat Place. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington (2009), Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean (2009), Whole Foods in Arlington, Tastings in Charlottesville; on the list at Tallula in Arlington.